Video—Take a Tour of the Special Clinical Studies Unit

NIAID Now | November 16, 2018

Inside the Special Clinical Studies Unit, an open door leads to one of the patient rooms.

Credit: NIH Clinical Center

Between 2014 and 2016, during the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, several patients were transported to the United States for treatment. Some of these patients came to the National Institutes of Health, where they received care in a special isolation unit in the NIH Clinical Center, known as the Special Clinical Studies Unit (SCSU).

Today, the SCSU is often used in clinical trials. There, protected by negative air pressure and varying levels of biosecurity, volunteers can be safely exposed to the flu, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), mosquitoes, or other infectious diseases or vectors for study purposes, without risk to other patients in the Clinical Center. They can also receive care while researchers study their reactions to pathogens in experiments that may lay the foundation for improved vaccines and treatments.

In early November, the National Institutes of Health social media team held a virtual tour of the SCSU, led by Dr. Matthew Memoli, Director of the Clinical Studies Unit in NIAID’s Laboratory of Infectious Diseases. Follow along, and see where patients and clinical trial volunteers sleep, eat, and relax during their time in the SCSU!


Inspired to volunteer for a clinical trial at the NIH? Call 1-800-411-1222, or email

(TTY for the deaf or hard of hearing: 1-866-411-1010)

Contact Information

Contact the NIAID Media Team.