European Research Infrastructure on Highly Pathogenic Agents
General Info


Brussels, Belgium

legal status



physical, remote

The European Research Infrastructure on Highly Pathogenic Agents (ERINHA) is dedicated to addressing the challenges posed by the emergence or re-emergence of infectious disease. Highly pathogenic microorganisms, characterized by a high mortality rate, but for which there are limited prophylactic or therapeutic medical countermeasures (MCM) represent one of the greatest threats to human health and well-being in the 21st century. Infectious microorganisms are classified by risk group, according to their pathogenicity, mode of transmission, host range, and the pharmacopeia of existing MCMs. The most dangerous pathogens are classified as risk group (RG) 3 and 4. They are stored and studied in high-containment laboratories (HCLs) of biological safety level 3 and 4 (BSL3 and BSL4). Officially set up in July 2017 as an international non profit association under Belgian law (AISBL status – Association Internationale Sans But Lucratif), ERINHA became an ESFRI landmark in 2018, and operates as a pan-European research infrastructure (RI) dedicated to the study of high-consequence (RG3 and RG4) pathogens. The only research infrastructure (RI) of its kind, ERINHA strives to bring the European Research Area (ERA) to the forefront of research excellence, competitiveness, innovation, and pandemic preparedness. Its primary mission is to advance research on the pathogens that represent the greatest threat to public health, society, and the economy, and to contribute to the development of countermeasures against them. To fulfil its mission ERINHA strengthens European capacities for research on highly pathogenic agents, and coordinates HCL service provision. It supports cutting-edge research into highly pathogenic diseases by offering a coordinated access to its member capacities, resources and expertise to the entire scientific community, on the basis of scientific excellence, and the relevance of research projects. Currently, ERINHA brings together eleven Members from ten European countries (AT, BE, ES, FR, HU, IT, NL, PT, SE, UK), which represent the majority of European BSL4 capacity and select BSL3/BSL3+ facilities. The COVID-19 pandemic confirmed the relevance of ERINHA for pandemic preparedness and response research. In Europe, the RI has been playing a critical role in optimizing the use of its Members’ laboratories by providing a coordinated, single point of access to support scientists, both from academia and the private sector, to advance research on SARS-CoV-2 and other pandemic-prone pathogens. Its coordinating and structuring activities have enabled multidisciplinary RI access opportunities (e.g. via the ISIDORe project), with a catalogue of common services and a service delivery mechanism.
Total Investment 5,8 M€ Design Preparation 5,1 M€ Implementation 0,7 M€ Operation 1,2 M€/year Project Landmark 2006 2008 2010 2012 2014 2016 2018 2020 2022 2024 2026 2028 2030 2032 2034 2036 2038 RM06 RM08 RM10 RM16 RM18 RM21 LA24
Roadmap Entry
as project: 2008
as landmark: 2018
Total investment
5,8 M€
Design Phase
Preparation Phase
5,1 M€
Implementation Phase
0,7 M€
Operation start
1,2 M€/year
ERINHA represents a fundamental added value for Europe, contributing to excellence in the field of research, competitiveness, innovation, health security and preparedness. ERINHA has played a critical role by providing access and optimising the use of its Members' HCLs, by federating them and providing a single, coordinated access point. The integration of multiple BSL3+/4 capabilities within a single infrastructure enables ERINHA to meet the needs of both academic and industrial users effectively and efficiently. It plays an important role in sharing the knowledge, expertise, and best practices between facilities from different countries, in increasing the quality and standards of research services, and creating training and education opportunities, so that the EU and its Member States are better prepared to face the threat of epidemic-prone pathogens. ERINHA’s service provision, and its participation in collaborative scientific projects, contribute to enhancing health security and pandemic preparedness, through contributions to the development of diagnostics and MCMs against deadly pathogens, as well as by providing technical expertise for the set-up of new HCLs or the upgrade of existing national facilities. At the request of, and in close collaboration with, national, European, and international authorities and initiatives (HERA, ECDC, WHO, WOAH, CEPI, GloPID R and others), ERINHA shares expertise and provides technical advice to support informed decision-making by policy makers faced by the constant challenge of emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases.
ERINHA provides access to high containment (BSL3 and BSL4) research services to all scientists with a relevant research project. ERINHA facilities are capable of handling all Risk Group 4 (RG4) viruses, arboviruses, respiratory viruses and other (re)emerging infectious diseases requiring a high containment environment. The major provided services are for preclinical MCMs (vaccines, therapeutics or diagnostic tools) development and validation, using in vitro, ex vivo and/or in vivo models, with a wide portfolio of services for the study of numerous replication competent pathogens with pandemic potential. Given the highly regulated and restricted access to HCLs, most of the services (e.g. in-vivo models) are provided by the highly qualified research staff at ERINHA Member facilities. The training activities that are already in place, or currently being developed, include access to webinars or seminars; designed training on risk assessment, biosecurity and biosafety, as well as on laboratory methods in preclinical research (theory and laboratory). These can be complemented with ad hoc training (upon request). Training for working in HCL is provided as a service at some ERINHA laboratories. ERINHA provides advice and expertise (consulting) services for the establishment and operation of new HCLs in Europe (including for the set-up of biorisk management programmes) The user communities, both from Academia and the private sector (Industry/SMEs) can access ERINHA services through multiple mechanisms: i) EU-funded transnational access (TNA) programmes, ii) externally funded projects where ERINHA Nodes participate in broader consortia (e.g. for MCM development), and iii) contract research. User communities from all over Europe and worldwide are eligible for ERINHA services.
ERINHA has a longstanding cooperation with most of the RIs from the ESFRI Health and Food group. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, ERINHA led the rapid establishment of the ISIDORe initiative which gathers 17 RIs, including 11 ESFRI landmarks (BBMRI, EATRIS, ECRIN, ELIXIR, EMBRC, EU-OPENSCREEN, Euro-Bioimaging, INFRAFRONTIER, INSTRUCT and MIRRI, in addition to ERINHA), and RI networks (EVA-G, INFRAVEC, Sonar-Global, TRANSVAC, VetBioNet and EMERGEN) to provide RI services addressing the COVID-19 pandemic and enabling preparedness research. ERINHA collaborates with ELIXIR and EVA-G within the European Viral Outbreak Research Alliance (EVORA), a synergistic action aiming to offer a sustainable and operational alliance for access to integrated resources and preclinical research services for the study of viral pathogens with epidemic/pandemic potential. In addition, ERINHA also closely cooperates with ESFRI RIs in cluster projects targeting data-sharing, FAIR and open data: EOSC-Life, By-COVID as well as newly launched OSCARS project, which brings together all ESFRI thematic clusters. It recently launched an international RI cooperation initiative called INTERCEPTOR (International Cooperation of High-Containment Research Infrastructures: From Epidemic Preparedness To Response).