A Novel Approach to Infectious Disease Preparedness: Incorporating Investigational Therapeutics and Research Objectives into Full-Scale Exercises

Health Secur. 2019 Jan/Feb;17(1):54-61. doi: 10.1089/hs.2018.0100.


The use of investigational therapeutics in the care of patients with Ebola virus disease was documented in the literature following the 2013-2016 outbreak. In order to access these types of therapeutics, facilities must have processes in place to quickly and efficiently activate study protocols, obtain the medications, and administer them in a timely manner. Testing these procedures in advance of a real-world event is crucial to ensuring successful implementation and execution. Drills and exercises are routinely used as part of the emergency preparedness planning process, as they provide a low-risk environment in which to test plans and procedures. Including research activities in full-scale emergency preparedness exercises is a novel approach that should be considered when creating a comprehensive special pathogen program. One important aspect of creating an agile response program is developing and sustaining strong relationships with key collaborators. Including departments not previously engaged in infectious disease preparedness exercises provides a forum to strengthen these relationships, clarify roles, and identify gaps. This article describes the process used to incorporate research-centric objectives focused on the use of investigational therapeutics for Ebola virus disease into a full-scale exercise, the evaluation process used to measure the identified objectives, and the results of the exercise.

Keywords: Hospital preparedness/response; Infectious diseases; Medical management/response; Viral hemorrhagic fevers.

MeSH terms

  • Civil Defense*
  • Communicable Diseases, Emerging*
  • Disaster Planning*
  • Disease Outbreaks / prevention & control*
  • Drugs, Investigational / therapeutic use*
  • Hemorrhagic Fever, Ebola / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Public Health
  • Research*


  • Drugs, Investigational