The 2009 influenza A H1N1 pandemic was responsible for considerable global morbidity and mortality. In 2009, several research studies in the UK were rapidly funded and activated for clinical and public health actions. However, some studies were too late for their results to have an early and substantial effect on clinical care, because of the time required to call for research proposals, assess, fund, and set up the projects. In recognition of these inherent delays, a portfolio of projects was funded by the National Institute for Health Research in 2012. These studies have now been set up (ie, with relevant permissions and arrangements made for data collection) and pilot tested where relevant. All studies are now on standby awaiting activation in the event of a pandemic being declared. In this Personal View, we describe the projects that were set up, the challenges of putting these projects into a maintenance-only state, and ongoing activities to maintain readiness for activation, and discuss how to plan research for a range of major incidents.
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The authors would like to thank all the collaborators of this work. Helen Walters (National Institute for Health Research Evaluation, Trials and Studies Coordinating Centre, Southampton, UK) and Garry Meakin (University of Nottingham, UK) contributed to the collaborative group meeting at which the concept of this Personal View was first discussed. These studies were funded by grants from the National Institute for Health Research Health under its Pandemic Influenza Preparedness call. Professor Hayward is a National Institute for Health Research Senior Investigator. The views and opinions expressed therein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the HS&DR, HTA and Public Health programmes, the National Institute for Health Research, the National Health Service, or the Department of Health and Social Care, UK.
SG is Chair of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Technology Assessment Clinical Evaluation and Trials Board, and chaired the NIHR Pandemic Influenza Themed Call Board. All authors reports grants from NIHR, during the conduct of the study. DDA reports grants from Public Health England, outside the submitted works. WSL's institution has received unrestricted investigator-initiated research funding from Pfizer for an unrelated research study in pneumonia where WSL is the chief investigator.
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