ERINHA is a pan-European distributed research infrastructure with expertise in high consequence pathogens. Its goal is to facilitate and accelerate research on highly infectious diseases (RG4) by providing a coordinated access to multiple European high containment and complementary capacities of leading research institutes.
ERINHA was officially awarded the AISBL statutes by a Royal decree approval in July 2017. Its governing bodies are General Assembly (ultimate decision-making body), Executive Board (Executive Body), CCU and Director General (daily management responsibilities) The access to the ERINHA RI is organized through its CCU. The main scientific and technical services of ERINHA are provided by its members’ facilities (national nodes) which are linked to ERINHA by Service level agreements.
Any application for (Full or Associate) membership shall be sent to the Central Coordinating Unit (CCU). Such letter shall include information on the applicant's corporate status and its activities. ERINHA CCU submits the application to the Executive Board for a discussion and the final decision is made by the General Assembly of ERINHA AISBL.
A national or international research institute or a network of institutes located in a Member country that enters into a Service Level Agreement with ERINHA, upon the fulfilment of the conditions and procedures established by the ERINHA General Assembly, to provide services with European dimension and that have an added value for ERINHA.
ERINHA prioritizes projects that focus on the agents listed in the ERINHA’s Research portfolio. Currently it includes Ebola, Marburg, Lassa, CCHF, Nipah/Hendra, unknown pathogen and bacteria. ERINHA’s list of prioritized agents will be regularly adapted over time to match the global public health needs. Project proposals focusing on non-prioritized agents will be evaluated on a case by case basis.
Currently the ERINHA laboratories have BSL4 capacity for experiments with mice, hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits, ferrets and non-human primates. Additional models may become available in the future. More details about the available analytical capacity to support animal experimentations can be obtained from “Services” section and the Central Coordinating Unit staff.
The ERINHA CCU will make a proposal to the user with the most adequate ERINHA nodes/facilities based on the needs of the project, feasibility and availability. Users are informed on the available capacity where the project can be hosted and performed.
Research in high containment facilities requires beforehand training to be able to perform research experiments in a BSL4 environment. ERINHA provides basic BSL4 training program for external users. Some additional training modules may be required depending on the nature of the project and the lab where the project will be hosted. Details on training needed for a specific project will be provided by the CCU. ERINHA also offers the services of its expert workforce to conduct research experiments in a BSL4 environment.
Multiple options can be considered, depending on the role of ERINHA in the project. These modalities will be discussed with users when their requests are being processed and will be unambiguously stipulated in the contract.
The selection and prioritization of project applications are based on scientific excellence, availability of the required facilities, technologies and equipment and available external funding to conduct the proposed research project. The criteria of selection and prioritization are set up by ERINHA General Assembly (the ultimate decision making body) and the review is performed by Independent Advisory Board and/or experts.
ERINHA allows conducting projects which are broad in scope, ambition and require a range of capabilities inside and outside of BSL4 facilities that no single laboratory can provide on its own. Common governance makes access to the infrastructure’s facilities quicker and easier. It also provides a pool of trained specialists and scientists on RG4 pathogens which no single European capacity is able to do. Moreover, ERINHA ensures sustainable support functions and quality audit of its member facilities to provide excellent research corresponding to European and international standards and requirements.