About Us

The Special Pathogens Excellence in Clinical Treatment, Readiness & Education Program (SPECTRE) was established in 2021 as a central core to support clinical excellence in biocontainment care and a resource for special pathogens preparedness, response, and clinical research at UTMB. As part of its activities, SPECTRE supports the expanding mission of the National Emerging & Special Pathogens Treatment and Education Center (NETEC) and the creation of the National Special Pathogen System of Care (NSPS). As a program, we provide administrative and technical support to UTMB’s Biocontainment Care Unit (BCU), training and education for clinical staff caring for patients with emerging infections, infrastructure for conducting clinical trials and other research in a containment environment, and we work with regional partners to assure preparedness of HHS Region VI. 

As one of 13 federally funded Regional Emerging and Special Pathogens Treatment Centers (RESPTCs), UTMB has been tasked with being at the ready to care for patients affected by high-consequence pathogens such as Ebola virus, Nipah virus, and Monkey Pox virus. We serve the states in HHS Region VI consisting of: Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and New Mexico. Treatment for patients with high-consequence pathogens occurs within our state-of-the-art Biocontainment Care Unit. The unit consists of 6 patient rooms, dedicated laboratory space for clinical testing, and an autoclave for waste management, as well as specialized facilities and processes to assure healthcare worker safety. 

Through our collaboration with the NETEC, SPECTRE serves as a training and education resource to UTMB and our regional partners. We perform specialized on-site training in providing care in high-containment circumstances for our BCU staff and more generalized training for other clinical staff as needed for emerging threats, such as SARS-CoV-2. Using UTMB’s Biosafety training lab and the Simulation Center we can offer virtual trainings and information sessions to external partners within our region. 

SPECTRE has established a research infrastructure to better serve UTMB investigators engaged in research pertaining to the care and management of patients requiring treatment within a containment setting and to expand the scientific knowledge about the prevention and response to emerging and special pathogens. As a member of the Special Pathogens Research Network (SPRN), we can quickly mobilize multi-site, multi-state clinical research protocols utilizing the single IRB located at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. This system has been successfully used to operationalize the Adaptive COVID-19 Treatment Trial (ACTT) in 2020-2021, and the Clinical Characterization Protocol for Severe Emerging Infections (CCPSEI), which since 2020 has supplied a rich clinical specimen and data inventory for UTMB’s Biorepository for Severe Emerging Infections (BESI).

Mission, Vision, Values

Mission: We treat the sick and protect the well from emerging special pathogens in our region by serving as a center for clinical excellence in biocontainment care and a resource for preparedness, response, and research support.

Vision: We envision ourselves as a central resource hub for HHS region VI and a leader in providing nimble, rapid, and effective care for persons affected by emerging and special pathogens while protecting the health and safety of our workforce and the community.

At SPECTRE, our core values are:

  • Adaptability – We are prepared to respond to any special pathogen threat and use cutting edge data to inform decision making
  • Ingenuity – We utilize novel techniques to fulfill training, education, and preparedness goals
  • Integrity – We provide only high-quality information to educate and inform
  • Compassion – We care for the communities we serve and focus on reaching underserved populations at high risk of pathogen transmission
  • Teamwork – We have built a multidisciplinary team to develop well-rounded solutions
  • Excellence – We strive to provide the best care, training, and research support for special pathogens

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