COVID-19 came as a huge surprise to the majority of us, with the virus spreading at alarming rates throughout the entire globe. While the virus has impacted people of all types of backgrounds, those working in healthcare systems took an especially big hit.
In fact, over 70% of nurses reported feeling ‘exhausted’ after taking part in a late 2020 mental health survey. But with doctors and nurses gaining an appreciation for working through this tough time, one was to wonder how clinical trials were impacted.
Clinical trials (CNS clinical trials in specific) had to go through some big challenges throughout the pandemic. Many changes had to be made, and many trials had to be flat-out canceled.
This article will take a look at how COVID-19 affected clinical trials and explore some operational considerations for neurological trials.
COVID-19’s Impact on Clinical Trials
Clinical trials are excellent ways for doctors and other medical professionals to test out new medicines, treatment routines, or practices. They’re arguably one of the most vital practices in the healthcare industry because they have the potential to lead to new standard medical routines.
Some patients may even find that clinical trials would act as a fantastic option for their disease or medical condition. Sometimes standard medicine and practices don’t work. That’s why plenty of patients enroll in clinical trials.
But with COVID-19 spreading in every corner of our nation, healthcare units and clinics had to make major adjustments.
Some of these direct adjustments included:
- Closing down specific clinical trials
- Making room for COVID-19 patients
- Redistributing necessary trial supplies to COVID units
Responses to COVID-19: What Changed?
The virus managed to breach into hospital systems despite the extreme amount of control that health professionals were taking.
With that in mind, it’s natural to assume that research around the new virus is rather scarce. Because of that, many clinical trials conductors had to get on board with clinical trials related to COVID-19. Yet, clinical trials during a pandemic uncovered faulty practices in the trial community.
Although the speed of clinical trials conductors was admirable, the quality of COVID-19 clinical trials was set rather low. This begs the need for higher quality coordination and care. Most of these have also been too small for enough research to get done.
Another byproduct of these fast and small clinical trials was the low amount of shared research. In a time of need such as this, research does not need to be privately owned.
Considerations for CNS Clinical Trials
What could help with managing clinical trials? Taking a look at the last section, there are already three solutions.
- Better collaboration and effort in clinical trials
- Data sharing
- Larger scale studies
Some other potential considerations for managing both clinical trials and covid include better recruitment practices.
During this period of time, it is easy to understand that many people (participants and researchers alike) wanted to stay away from the healthcare system.
The Future of Clinical Trials
Managing clinical trials during a widespread pandemic was tough on its own, but what was worse is that many trials that happened were not efficient. This pandemic did uncover a few of those.
The good thing is, it shined a light on what can be done to improve future clinical trials. It all starts off with better collaboration and effort. Once those two are met, the quality of clinical trials will vastly improve.