SPECTRE: Special Pathogens Excellence in Clinical Treatment Readiness & Education Program

Welcome to the Special Pathogens Excellence in Clinical Treatment, Readiness, and Education Program (SPECTRE) within the Division of Infectious Diseases at UTMB. The primary objectives of SPECTRE are to support preparedness of the UTMB Biocontainment Care Unit (BCU) to care for patients with special pathogens, develop education and training regarding special pathogens care and research, to network with other health care and public health entities to assure a coordinated response, and to support infrastructure for clinical research for special pathogens. Our team includes experts in their fields from the School of Medicine, Department of Global Health & Emerging Disease, Department of Biosafety, Environmental Health & Safety, and Division of Infection Control & Healthcare Epidemiology.

SPECTRE team members collaborate with the National Emerging Special Pathogens Training and Education Center (NETEC) and Regional Emerging Special Pathogens Treatment Centers (RESPTCs) to develop new educational materials and training programs, share information regarding care of special pathogens patients, develop infrastructure for research, and set the standard for preparedness efforts in the U.S.

SPECTRE activities fall into 4 overarching categories:

  1. Maintaining the BCU
    • UTMB is home to a specialized patient care unit equipped to provide the highest standard of care to patients infected with highly dangerous pathogens
    • UTMB is prepared to accept at least 2 special pathogens patients within 8 hours’ notice
  2. Training and education
    • Internal training for UTMB employees, including not only the BCU health care team but providers throughout the institution who may encounter special pathogens patients
    • External training and education for other healthcare systems, associations, and the community
  3. Networking
    • Within our 5-state Health & Human Services (HHS) Region VI: Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, New Mexico
    • Nationally with the National Special Pathogens System (NSPS)
  4. Research Infrastructure
    • Maintain capacity to quickly implement clinical trial protocols in an outbreak response
    • Established and support the Biorepository for Severe and Emerging Infections (BSEI)
    • Conduct clinical, human factor, and environmental biosafety research within the BCU

We look forward to continuing to work with our internal and external partners in building and enhancing special pathogens preparedness efforts for our region.

Susan McLellan, MD, MPH
Director, SPECTRE
Medical Director, Biocontainment Care Unit
Email: sumclell@utmb.edu

News & Publications

Paper Patients Webinar

June 7, 2023, 08:38 AM by Maegan Traveler

SPECTRE is offering this webinar as a means to discuss practical considerations for health care institutions and partners when presented with a patient suspected of having a special pathogen. We will use example "paper patients "to walk through the steps necessary to provide appropriate care while maintaining public health and healthcare worker safety.

Journal Article: Evaluating Demographic Representation in Clinical Trials: Use of the Adaptive COVID-19 Treatment Trial (ACTT) as a Test Case

May 31, 2023, 13:50 PM by Maegan Traveler

New article published in Open Forum of Infectious Diseases co-authored by SPECTRE’s Dr. Corri Levine: Appropriate representation is vital when conducting clinical trials and this is just as important during emerging infectious disease outbreaks. The Adaptive COVID-19 Treatment Trial (ACTT) was one of the first trials to test therapeutics against COVID-19, initiated early in the pandemic when very little was known about the disease and susceptible populations. This paper used ACTT as a model for selecting appropriate comparators when evaluating trial representation.

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