The Irish experience of establishing a national approach to research ethics during a global pandemic is described in a publication from the National Office for Research Ethics Committees and Prof. Mary Horgan, Chair of NREC COVID-19. This Open Letter published in HRB Open Research (https://hrbopenresearch.org/articles/3-63/v1) is currently under peer-review and open for commentary.
Established by the Minister for Health, the NREC COVID-19 is an important component of the research response to the pandemic to accelerate studies clearly positioned to provide significant evidence for national and global efforts to deal with the virus outbreak. The challenge for Ireland’s first NREC was to return expedited decisions on urgent COVID-19 studies whilst retaining the highest standards of ethics review. This publication, a first from the National Office, explains the insights gleaned and lessons learned from operationalising the NREC COVID-19 from April to August 2020. This experience may inform future emergency responses, both nationally and internationally, to a pandemic situation or public health emergency.
This work is accepted for oral presentation at the 14th World Conference on Bioethics, Medical Ethics & Health Law to be held in Porto, March 2021.