The emergence of COVID-19 significantlyaltered how researchers conduct clinical trials—treatment centers and testing sites were suspended throughout the pandemic to meet new health and safety regulations. These restrictions were temporary, but clinical researchers have begun implementing these changes to the clinical trial process indefinitely.
The restrictions of the pandemic forced investigators to conduct work with trial participants in ways that weren’t previously allowed by sponsors or government regulators. For the first time, participants could enroll in clinical trials remotely and receive necessary testing inside their local doctor’s office rather than a research institution. This led to a growing consensus that the clinical research process alterations used during the pandemic should become long-term because they make trials more accessible to patients and staff.
Explore the impact of COVID-19 on the clinical trial process and how it changed what is involved in clinical trials.
1. Reduced Travel
A common interference with the clinical trial process is a participant’s reluctance to travel to a trial site. The clinical process requires various procedures and consultations, which means participants must travel multiple times over the course of a trial. The pandemic introduced virtual methods for people to conduct some of these procedures from home and achieve the same objectives.
2. Remote Recruiting
Before participating in a clinical trial, researchers must review the process with participants during the recruitment stage. The pandemic caused researchers to convert the recruitment process to online conversations and electronic documents; remote screening and consent provide an additional recruitment method for clinical trials.
3. Delivered Medication
Researchers administer trial medications at the testing location. The reason for this is that researchers must oversee patients to monitor effects and adjust the medication dose as required. The pandemic made participants reluctant to go into testing centers, so clinical trials began shipping medication to participants’ homes. Adopting this procedure means clinical trials will be easier for people to join and remain active in the trials.
The COVID-19 pandemic made a noticeable impact on the clinical trial process by introducing new methods of conducting trials without compromising the quality of trial results. The outlook for continuing these changes through regulators and sponsors remains in progress as they evaluate clinical guidelines and trial requirements.