PREPARED: “PREparedness and PAndemic REsponse in Deutschland”


PREPARED is a project belonging to the second funding line of the Network of University Medicine (NUM). The Network of University Medicine was founded in April 2020 as part of the crisis management to combat the COVID-19 pandemic in Germany. NUM facilitates cooperative research activities in clinical research and in preparation for major public health crises, involving as many of the 36 German university hospitals as possible.


Pandemic resilience requires an efficient, interconnected and stringently regulated infrastructure for the continuous monitoring, assessment and anticipation of pandemic situations.

The overarching goal of PREPARED is to develop a concept for a comprehensive, feasible, cooperative, adaptable and sustainable infrastructure for pandemic management and preparation within the NUM. This will enable a coordinated, rapid, targeted and evidence-based action and response to threats to patient care and public health in a pandemic situation.

Ethics as a cross-sectional topic in PREPARED

In the context of a pandemic and comparable healthcare crises, there is a significant increase in uncertainties and decision-making conflicts. The arising relevant ethical challenges can affect all levels of healthcare, individual and organizational decision-makers, various professional groups and other stakeholders. One example relating to research is the ethical weighing of benefits and harms in view of existing evidence gaps and urgent research needs. A second example relating to clinical-ethical decision-making is prioritization in light of scarce resources and the associated moral burdens. While some of the ethical research questions are specific to pandemic crisis situations (e.g. restriction of civil liberties in the context of lockdowns or so-called challenge trials), other issues, such as ensuring trust in health policy and the healthcare system during a crisis, extend far beyond ethical questions in the context of a pandemic.

As part of the cross-sectional ethics project in PREPARED, we are involved in identifying and assessing ethically relevant challenges and issues that arise in the context of the planned pandemic preparedness infrastructure.