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Press release 16 May 2017 - ERINHA’s scientific launch meeting in Brussels

The need for a coordinated high containment infrastructure was recognized by all speakers and attendees.

Paris, 16 May 2017 -  ERINHA’s scientific launch meeting "Launching the European Research Infrastructure on Highly Pathogenic Agents’ Scientific Strategy” was held on 10th May  in Brussels at the Marriott Hotel Grand Place, bringing together scientists from public and private sectors, national and European decision-makers and funding agencies in the field of research and public health, international organizations and representatives of key initiatives in the field of outbreak preparedness, surveillance and response.

The conference aimed to present to external stakeholders and potential users the ERINHA Research Infrastructure’s (RI) scientific strategy for its implementation phase. ERINHA will be moving towards implementation from 1st July 2017 and will provide open access to state-of-the-art BSL4 and complementary research facilities for academia, industry and other relevant stakeholders.

The keynote speakers of the conference representing national Public Health Agencies and research institutes (Public Health England, Swedish Public health Agency, Italian National Institute for Infectious Diseases, Inserm, Aix Marseille University) provided an update on the current status of the development of interventions for highly pathogenic agents in the field of diagnostics, vaccines and antiviral therapeutics.

In this context, Prof. Roger Hewson from Public Health England especially emphasized the specific role ERINHA would play in developing and preparing capacities to face re-emerging but also unknown threats.

In the framework of the “Partnership and funding opportunities” session, the speakers from WHO, European Commission, ECDC, CEPI, IMI and BARDA have highlighted European, US and international research funding and preparedness mechanisms put in place to anticipate and respond more efficiently and effectively to new potential outbreaks.

Dr Karianne Johansen from CEPI underlined: “The rapid access to BSL4 facilities and specific animal models could be one of the bottlenecks for CEPI projects and ERINHA can play a key role in this area”.

Dr Jean Lang, Sanofi, representing European industry in IMI, has stressed the key value of ERINHA as an enabling network for European epidemic preparedness.

The attendees and speakers unanimously emphasized the ERINHA RI’s added value to contribute to European and global strategies to ensure better preparedness and response to future outbreaks.