Objectives: To train participants to apply rapid-synthesis methodology for accelerated evidence reviews to identify key research gaps at the early stages of epidemics, through a dynamic, interactive session.
Description: The evidence base for the response to epidemics of (re-)emerging pathogens is limited. Research is rarely an early priority, since agencies are often in crisis mode. The challenges at the outset of an epidemic and the limited window of opportunity to implement research, makes it important that priorities for research are rapidly, but rigorously, defined, while considering ethical aspects, and ensuring the potential for a direct clinical impact. This interactive session will present a formal methodology for rapidly (≤5 days) and transparently identifying knowledge gaps during emergency outbreaks, to inform prioritisation of clinical research. We developed the methodology in collaboration with a range of experts in systematic reviews and outbreak response, and it optimises the use of global networks of clinicians, researchers and systematic reviewers. The session will cover: introduction of the method; an interactive session where participants use an outbreak scenario simulation to apply the methodology; and participant-led discussion on the outcome to include issues/enablers/barriers in different settings and healthcare systems.