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Public health emergency research

Last updated on 20 Oct 2020

For latest guidance about COVID-19 research and information about approved research in this area, visit our COVID-19 section

In a public health emergency, researchers may want to urgently set up studies to test new treatments, improve diagnosis or prevent the spread of disease.  The HRA can arrange to fast-track approval in these exceptional circumstances and has done so in the past, for example, in relation to bird flu and ebola.

Fast-track research is subject to the same scrutiny as other studies received by the HRA, and the process for this is set out in Research Ethics Committee Standard Operating Procedures (section 9) and Governance Arrangements for Research Ethics Committees.

The process is managed via the Director of the Approvals Service, and research leads in the devolved administrations if appropriate.

Before an application can be made, the first stage is to request fast-track approval. During office hours please contact our mainline on 0207 104 8000. Out of office hours please contact 020 7104 8322 (open 5.30-8pm on weekday evenings and 10am-4pm on weekends and bank holidays).

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