COVID-19 causes long-term disruptions to clinical trials

By The Science Advisory Board staff writers

March 26, 2020 -- New survey results suggest that clinical trials are experiencing significant roadblocks associated with COVID-19. These could ultimately result in a slowdown of global drug development, according to Clinical Research IO.

In a study, the firm found that 24% of investigators that were surveyed reported that they have stopped enrolling new patients into their trials due to safety concerns. And of the 76% of remaining investigators, nearly half are considering halting new patient enrollment.

The slowdown of clinical trials has been further exacerbated by the many shelter-in-place orders imposed by states and municipalities.

Even research sites that continue to enroll patients are having challenges, with 9% seeing a decline in patient retention, per the survey results. This translates to nearly one in 10 subjects withdrawing from ongoing studies. Moreover, 63% of investigators who were surveyed have reported an inability of sponsors to perform adequate oversight.

Ultimately, delays in clinical trials will have a trickle-down effect on new drug and medical device development. Treatments that were expected to be released in 2022 may not come out until 2023.

The survey was conducted from March 19-23, with 73 research sites developing therapies participating.

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