This website has been developed and is being maintained on behalf of ESFRI by the StR-ESFRI project which has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme under Grant Agreement n° 654213
The European coordination for the study of highly pathogenic micro-organisms classified as RG4
The European Research Infrastructure on Highly Pathogenic Agents (ERINHA) aims to develop an adequate and coordinated effort to address the challenges posed by the emergence or re-emergence of highly dangerous human and animal micro-organisms infecting humans, with high risks for public health, society and the economy. ERINHA seeks to reinforce the European capacities for the study of Risk Group 4 pathogens, enhance the coordination of Biosafety Level 4 (BSL-4) activities and give access to BSL-4 and complementary facilities to all interested European scientists by establishing a pan-European distributed RI.
ERINHA encompasses basic research into pathogen isolation/characterisation, the pathogenesis of human diseases caused by dangerous micro-organisms. It enables translational research to develop new counter measures including diagnostic tools, therapeutics and prophylactics and applied research to improve knowledge, skills and the evidence-base around high containment working practices.
ERINHA is on the ESFRI Roadmap since 2008 and in the Implementation Phase since July 2017.
One of the great challenges of the 21st century is the capability to react on human and animal highly pathogenic micro-organisms which are characterized by a high mortality rate induction, unavailability of prophylactic or therapeutic means and easy human-to-human transmission. All infectious micro-organisms are classified by risk group according to the pathogenicity, modes of transmission and host range of the organism. The most highly infectious pathogens are classified as Risk Group 4. To protect environment from spread and to protect scientists from infection, these micro-organisms must be handled and stored in Biosafety Level 4 facilities. The recent epidemic context − outbreak of Ebola, recent cases of Lassa and CCHF in Europe − have demonstrated the reality of dangerous infectious threats and the worldwide vulnerability towards emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases and has highlighted the need for such an infrastructure to prevent and respond to the spread of epidemics more effectively and efficiently. A European coordinated strategy is needed to ensure preventing each European citizen from pandemics or bioterrorist attack involving suspected group 4 pathogens. It implies a coordinated pan-European distributed RI providing access to high containment facilities and complementary functions.
ERINHA is the sole European Research Infrastructure specifically dedicated to Highly infectious pathogens of RG4 study. It is a unique and innovative infrastructure that intends to bring Europe to the forefront of research on highly virulent agents and offer European expertise to overcome and prevent the spread of epidemics. ERINHA contributes to the H2020 societal challenge Secure societies − protecting freedom and security of Europe and its citizens and Health, Demographic Change and Wellbeing.
The benefit to society by coordinating capacities to prevent and respond to the spread of epidemics is high, directly affecting human health, avoiding negative impact on national health care systems, and on the economy. Disease outbreaks cost millions to countries’ economies, therefore optimising Europe’s preparedness to detect and tackle these diseases is crucial.
ERINHA has potential to contribute to boost European competitiveness and Research & Innovation. It aims to facilitate complex and comprehensive research programmes able to compete with those conducted outside the EU. It has capacity to respond to the needs of academia and industry better and faster than the field would in general. Industry is an important user sector, interested in paying the facilities to run their own experiments rather than access the facilities themselves. This could contribute to ERINHA’s long term sustainability and ERINHA will need to balance the needs of its different users.
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