• How Has Covid-19 Affected Clinic Trials

Microscopy & Microtechniques

How Has Covid-19 Affected Clinic Trials

Feb 18 2022

The pandemic had a far-reaching impact on every aspect of domestic and commercial life. Plus, while attention focused on a vaccine for Covid-19 and the search for new antivirals to tackle the virus, other clinical trials fell by the wayside.

Reports from statisticians from across the world highlighted the scale of the issues. Trial enrolments plummeted, and staffing was a widespread problem. Also, some trials were considered too dangerous to carry out. However, amongst all of this, many clinical research teams worked hard to ensure tests deemed life-saving were still worked on.

While 2020 saw the most impact from Covid-19, 2021 brought more promising numbers to clinical trials. This year, figures are increasing once again and are on track to surpass activity from previous years.

As laboratories and clinic trial teams move forward, lessons learned from the pandemic are a primary focus to prevent this type of impact in the future. Some main aspects identified for 2022 include:

A move to a flexible and collaborative approach

The speed at which the pandemic took hold left little room for manoeuvre in many sectors. However, flexibility in the way clinical trials are carried out enabled some teams to continue vital work.

This flexible approach involved:

  • Using online platforms so participants can consent to take part in trials
  • Delivery of experimental medicines direct to homes
  • Increasing length of time between doctors appointments or using a virtual appointment system

These changes may offer more adaptability for future trials in the event of any significant global incidents.

Improving representation in clinic trials

Recent findings from previous trials have indicated a need to improve diversity, equality and inclusion in future clinical trials. Abstracts from the Annual Meeting of the American Society of Hematology (ASH) highlighted a disparity in representation. While this is a complex topic, it could identify why some treatments are not as effective depending on the population and area of study. The sector supports a move to improve representation in the future to ensure trial findings are broader and more effective. 

New technology to improve trials

Investment in new technologies is a major theme for 2022. There are several main fields that are moving up the ranks, including robotics, data analytics and digital therapeutics.

Unconventional trial methods are also being considered in a bid to improve efficiency. Examples such as platform trials, umbrella trials and basket trials could help to revolutionise this area.

Clinical trials in 2022

The pandemic has undoubtedly pushed the boundaries of modern medicine and for the people who work behind the scenes. However, as we emerge from the effects of Covid-19, the clinic trials landscape is proving to be adaptable and versatile to meet the needs of the population.


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