How COVID Clinical Trials Are Building Towards a Better Future

COVID Clinical Trials Are Building Towards a Better Future: Do you remember when you were first sent home due to a novel coronavirus? People were throwing around estimates for how long we have to wait for vaccines.

At the time, the fastest vaccine developed was the 1960s mumps vaccine, which took four years. So, even the most optimistic estimates were always within the ballpark of a few years.

However, warp-speed COVID clinical trials knocked it out of the park. This led to the approval of a vaccine in just a couple of months.

So, how did we go from such a bleak point A to a record-breaking point B?

To understand, let’s take a peek back into the past and review how present COVID research is revolutionizing the future of clinical trials.

How COVID Clinical Trials Started

The road COVID research study took, especially in the US, wasn’t without obstacles. It was a bumpy ride revealing all the potholes in the country’s clinical trials and the healthcare system. US healthcare has one of the lowest outcomes despite spending nearly twice as much as other high-income countries.

Clinical trials also yielded low generalizable information. This is due to the following problems:

  • Insufficient broad participation and racial representation
  • Inefficient site-based clinical trial settings
  • Unnecessarily complex requirements
  • Low participation incentive
  • Unoptimized medical data systems

Vaccines often take 10-15 years to complete all the clinical trial phases. Initially an industry standard, not many thought to question. However, what can the rest of the clinical trials enterprise learn from the COVID vaccine development?

How It’s Going

As the world’s healthcare scrambled to attend to the damages of COVID-19, clinical trials had to go on hold. As they start to make a comeback, healthcare systems are addressing the many problems emphasized by the sudden health crisis. The major themes of improvement fall under these categories:

covid clinical trials

Efficiency

The most immediate problem was how easily clinical trials collapsed under the pressure of health protocols. Thousands of site-based clinical trials had to stop due to social-distancing restrictions. This led to the use of more decentralized trial methods involving:

  • Virtual enrollment and data gathering
  • Remote collection of biological samples
  • Community-centric trial sites
  • Accessible self-test kits

Efficiency also entails cutting down on unnecessary components that cost money and time. Operation Warp Speed favored simpler trials that focused on priorities and gave quick results.

Engagement

Clinical trials require participation from all the communities to correctly represent a population. This requires:

  • Participant diversity and inclusivity
  • Accessible trial settings for PWD, pregnant and nursing women, elderly, etc.
  • Community trial sites in rural areas
  • Comprehensive information dissemination

Learning more about the benefits of participating in a clinical trial is an informative approach that encourages participation.

Modernizing

Apart from proper funding for bioanalytical labs, clinical trials also require modernizing data collection and processing. An effective approach, already seen in places like the UK, is the development of a nationwide network of clinical research.

This allows efficient, accessible, and broad patient participation from various health settings. However, with most things modern, you can always expect resistance. 

Be Part of the Better Future

Despite possible limitations from other moving parts (the government, social mindset, individual communities, etc.), with all the breakthroughs from COVID clinical trials, the only path we can take from here is forward.

You, too, can contribute to the better future of clinical trials. If the deed is not its own reward, you can also get paid for contributing! So get in touch to become a paid participant.