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Ethics & Human Research

Rapid Review of Therapy Protocols for Public Health Emergencies

ABSTRACT How research during a public health emergency is conducted is recognized as essential to the public health response to that emergency. Such research needs to undergo substantive and meaningful ethical review in a timely man-ner. Rapid ethical review may be accomplished through a number of mechanisms, including use of local rapid-response institutional review boards (IRBs). We describe use of such a model in the setting of the 2014 Ebola virus disease epi-demic and the Rapid-Response IRB’s subsequent transition to a multisite single IRB model during the current Covid-19 pandemic. The rapid-response review model is characterized by a small IRB with extensive use of alternate members with specific expertise and by close collaboration with the investigator in an iterative process.

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