As new strains of Covid-19, such as Delta and now Omicron, continue to raise the number of cases around the world, sponsors are continuing clinical trials to find a therapeutic or vaccine. GlobalData’s Pharma Intelligence Centre has compiled data on these trials, showing a decrease in the number of Covid-19 trials from 2020 to 2021.

Last year, there were 3,483 Covid-19 clinical trials, while this year to date, there have been 2,170. This represents a 37.7% decrease between years. When looking at status, the biggest difference can be seen in suspended/terminated/withdrawn (S/T/W) trials. The difference between S/T/W trials in 2020 and 2021 was 75.9%. Last year also had more ongoing and completed trials while this year has had more planned trials, as seen in Figure 1.

Many factors could be contributing to these trends. One of the main reasons for the difference in completed trials is due to there having been more time from 2020 to the present to complete a trial compared to 2021. Other possible reasons include companies trying to be the frontrunners to receive approval. After the approvals of the three main Covid-19 vaccines in the US (those from Pfizer, Moderna and Janssen), sponsors continued testing for different age groups this year. For example, Pfizer received US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) expanded emergency use authorisation for children aged 5-11 years on 23 August this year.