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Collaboration key to clinical trial sector growth post pandemic, ACRO

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COVID-19 prompted a surge in public interest in taking part in studies and established decentralized trials as a viable model according to industry group ACRO.

The initial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic was to disrupt clinical research with many sponsors choosing to temporarily suspend enrolment in studies. Likewise, study centers suspended activities amid restrictions imposed to stem the spread of the disease.

However, as the pandemic progressed, industry noted an increase in the number of people wanting to get involved in trials says ACRO Executive Director, Doug Peddicord
“For many who were not on the front lines of the crisis, enrolling in a COVID-19 vaccine or therapeutic clinical trial represented a way to make their own contribution to the global pandemic response and beyond.

“Just as their work and school lives ‘went remote’ or hybrid, their participation in life-saving medical research shifted too,” Peddicord said.

Decentralized trials

The surge in interest combined with disruption at research centers forced CROs and sponsors to look for novel study designs, with the remote – or decentralized – model in which subjects take part at home becoming a popular option.

Peddicord said, “As individuals sought to enroll in trials in unprecedented numbers, the clinical development industry…recognized a historic opportunity to leverage innovative methodologies.”

“Some of the new methodologies…allowed investigators to gather safety, efficacy and treatment outcome data without necessarily requiring that patients travel to clinical trial sites.”

Collaboration

Whether the trials industry can capitalize on increased participation rates and the growing acceptance on new study models will depend on how it reacts and – according to Peddicord – there are positive signs.

“The clinical research sector is expanding to include more diverse and enthusiastic demographics of people looking to make a difference in their communities. In addition to scientists, entities such as companies, lawmakers and regulators have a duty to solidify the progress we’ve made in clinical trials while also maintaining the momentum moving forward.

He added, “We must continue to collaborate to ensure the legacy and lessons of the past year are not squandered. Creating a safer, healthier world depends on it.”

Image: Stock Photo Secrets

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