This month, the BCU team traveled to Denver for the annual National Ebola Training and Education Center (NETEC) Summit. The summit brought together groups from each of the 10 Regional Ebola and Special Pathogen Treatment Centers (RESPTCs) to discuss progress, strategies and challenges related to special pathogen preparedness as well as research activities, public health efforts and more.

During the summit, the special pathogens research network (SPRN) with federal partners from the CDC, NIAID, BARDA and USAMRIID to discuss progress on the network’s ability to conduct clinical research, collect and transport specimens and share critical medical countermeasures research in the face of the second largest Ebola outbreak in history. The network has been developing several protocols and policies for how to conduct clinical research in a biocontainment unit and has activated the ZMapp expanded access protocol at 9 of the 10 regional treatment centers, including Johns Hopkins. We are working to activate the four-arm clinical trial that is currently running in the Democratic Republic of Congo, comparing the efficacy of four novel therapeutics. Lauren Sauer, the research director for the Johns Hopkins BCU, is working closely on these projects and is becoming increasingly involved in the network’s special pathogen-related research activities.

The Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Biosafety Transport Workgroup also met during the summit to discuss terminal ambulance disinfection, post-measles transport ambulance disinfection, transport of neonatal patient with a suspected high consequence infectious disease (HCID) and more. The multi-site workgroup is developing a readiness assessment tool that will be available for use by any EMS program to assess their ability to respond to and complete a HCID patient transport.

The Hopkins team presented several research findings highlighting efforts such as the BCU incident command structure, the BCU staff self-selector model, an analysis of the BCU’s readiness and the efforts to establish a statewide frontline hospital education program.

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