Tag Archive for: Coronavirus


From: www.instituteforpatientaccess.org
May 18, 2020

This piece from the Institute for Patient Access gives excellent insight into the massive effects, both positive and negative, the COVID-19 crisis has had on clinical trials.  Although in many cases, resources have been diverted to focus on finding a treatment and possible vaccine for the virus, it is quite possible that an increased awareness of the importance and necessity of clinical trials has been realized across the country and the world. 

This year’s Clinical Trials Awareness Week falls squarely in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The week’s theme, “Clinical Trials During a National Public Health Emergency,” explores how the coronavirus demands and, in some cases, also disrupts clinical research. It also prompts an important underlying question: Once the pandemic subsides, will the public retain a greater awareness and appreciation of clinical trials?

Clinical Trials & the Coronavirus

More than 100 potential novel coronavirus vaccines are being developed by research teams around the globe. In the United States, pharmaceutical companies, university researchers and government agencies are working together to find a vaccine. Meanwhile, the FDA recently approved existing drug remdesivir for emergency use in treating people infected with COVID-19.

But finding effective COVID-19 treatments takes time. Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, has stated that it will take at least a year or more to provide a workable vaccine.

While this effort moves forward, clinical trials investigating potential medications for non-coronavirus related diseases are being pushed to the back burner. Reporting from NPR indicates that 440 clinical trials, involving as many as 200,000 people, have been suspended because of the coronavirus outbreak. One-quarter of the trials put on hold were exploring cancer treatments, with research on strokes, dementia, and other serious conditions stalled as well.

Clinical trials during the pandemic pose a number of challenges. Researchers and sponsors must decide if enough staff are available, and if visiting health care facilities is worth the risk of virus exposure for trial participants. Meanwhile, data obtained from trials will take longer to develop, with radiology suites and other offices closed.

Clinical Trials Awareness After COVID-19

But the COVID-19 pandemic could also have positive long-term implications for clinical trials.

In years past, people often have had little awareness of clinical trials until they or a family member needed to join one. The lack of knowledge makes clinical trials difficult to enroll and conduct, even under normal circumstances. Over one-third of trial sites fail to meet their enrollment goals, with more than one site in 10 unable to enroll even a single patient.

By elevating public awareness of clinical trials, the COVID-19 pandemic could alter that trend.

If the coronavirus outbreak offers any silver lining, perhaps it’s that the country’s experience could stimulate public interest and participation in future trials, ushering in a period of robust research that yields meaningful treatments for patients, families and communities.

Finding a novel coronavirus vaccine will save lives. But it could also mark the beginning of a greater public awareness of the importance of clinical trials.

Coronavirus: What People with Cancer Should Know

A chart from the CDC detailing precautions to take to help avoid contracting Covid-19.What is coronavirus, or COVID-19?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in people and many different species of animals. CDC is responding to an outbreak of respiratory disease caused by a novel (new) coronavirus that was first detected in China and has now been detected in the United States and many other countries. The virus has been named SARS-CoV-2, and the disease it causes has been named coronavirus disease 2019, which is abbreviated COVID-19.

This is a rapidly evolving situation and the risk assessment will be updated as needed.

If I have cancer, am I at higher risk of getting or dying from COVID-19?

Some types of cancer and treatments such as chemotherapy can weaken your immune system and may increase your risk of any infection, including with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. During chemotherapy, there will be times in your treatment cycle when you are at increased risk of infection.Adults and children with serious chronic health conditions, including cancer, are at higher risk of developing more serious complications from contagious illnesses such as COVID-19.

If I have cancer, how can I protect myself?

There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19 or specific treatment for it. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus. Precautions for avoiding COVID-19 are the same as for other contagious respiratory illnesses, such as influenza (flu).

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends everyday preventive measures to help prevent the spread of respiratory infections, including:

  • Avoid large social gatherings and close contact with people who are sick
  • Avoid unnecessary person-to-person contact, such as handshakes
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; and before and after coming in contact with others
  • Get a flu vaccine

CDC recommends additional actions to help keep people at high risk for developing serious complications from COVID-19 healthy in the event of a COVID-19 outbreak in your community, including:

  • Stay home as much as possible
  • Make sure you have access to several weeks of medication and supplies in case you need to stay home for prolonged periods of time
  • When you do go out in public, avoid crowds
  • Avoid cruise ship travel and nonessential air travel

NCI provides tips and resources for the cancer community to prepare for any emergency.

I receive cancer treatment at a medical facility. What should I do about getting treatment?

Call your health care provider and follow their guidance.

I participate in a clinical trial at a medical facility. What should I do?

Call your clinical trial research team and follow their guidance.

What should I do if I have symptoms of an infection?

Call your health care provider if you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and have symptoms of an infection.

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