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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