Research should be embedded along with the immediate public health and humanitarian response to an emergent threat. It is important that samples and clinical observations are collected within a protocol so that these findings can be reported and shared. This area is to support that immediate research response and help develop a protocol. If you are collecting samples or recording information from patients with the intent to share and publish, it is research and therefore needs consent, and will need ethics approval. To gain ethical approval to run studies, you will need a protocol. Here you will find guidance to the types of studies needed in an immediate response, example protocols, guidance documents and access to training.

Detection studies

The immediate question is whether a new threat has emerged or if an existing pathogen is escalating. This requires epidemiology studies through surveillance and case detection. There are many approaches that can be used. Here you can find available example protocols, data capture tools, guidance on surveillance, diagnostics and detection. Please also share your experiences and example research tools and methods here:


Disease characterization

Understanding how the pathogen impacts the host is the purpose of disease characterisation studies. Diseases can be characterised clinically, epidemiogically, genetically and using further subtyes to describe the disease. This section aims to offer standarised ways of conducting disease characterisation studies and examples. The ISARIC programme has a set of protocols, and a standard tool that can be adapted by researchers who are interested in conducting these kinds of studies. Following standarized methodology can be important for data collection, pooling and sharing. The first version of the protocol was developed for MERS and has since been adapted to many other diseases. This section will share examples of these adaptation and different disease characterisation protocols, data management systems and other associated methods, tools and training.

Public Awareness, Perceptions and Behaviour Studies

An important unknown in the knowledge gaps is what communities understand and how behaviours, practices and perception are driving infection and could be changed to limit transmission. Therefore, these social science and behavioural studies are vital. This area will share examples, training and resources.

Community Engagement

Ahead of any study, where feasible in an emergency outbreak situation, should be a process of comprehensive engagement with the community to explain the research and build trust and also facilitate full engagement with the design and operational planning and delivery.


In the context of outbreak research, sequencing plays a pivotal role in understanding the genetic makeup of pathogens responsible for outbreaks. By sequencing the genomes of viruses, bacteria, or other infectious agents, researchers can identify specific genetic markers, trace the transmission pathways of the outbreak, and monitor how the pathogen evolves over time. This information is crucial for developing targeted diagnostics, vaccines, and treatment strategies to control the outbreak effectively. With the advent of high-throughput sequencing technologies, such as next-generation sequencing (NGS), researchers can rapidly sequence large numbers of pathogen genomes, providing real-time insights into the dynamics of outbreaks and informing public health responses.

Emergency Research Skills Training courses for your team

This is tailored instruction to equip your team with the essential skills needed to conduct research during crises and emergencies. These courses cover a range of topics including rapid data collection methods, epidemiological analysis techniques, ethical considerations in emergency research, and effective communication strategies during high-pressure situations.


Resources for Outbreak Research

This section provides a comprehensive overview of tools and data sources essential for studying and mitigating outbreaks. From epidemiological databases to molecular analysis tools, this section outlines key resources and protocols used by researchers to understand the dynamics of infectious diseases, track their spread, and develop effective response strategies.