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May 25, 2021updated 12 Jul 2022 11:13am

Trends in Covid-19 clinical trials: vaccines vs therapeutics

The number of clinical trials for Covid-19 has steadily declined overall since its peak in April 2020, with some months as exceptions.

By GlobalData Healthcare

Since the Covid-19 pandemic began, the peak in the total number of clinical trials for Covid-19 was seen in the month of April 2020. Since this, there has been a steady decrease in new clinical trial investigations, except for the months of December 2020 and March 2021. As companies and organisations continue to test both vaccines and therapeutics, the total number for each are showing different trends.

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Covid-19 clinical trials using vaccines continue to increase, with the number of clinical trials peaking in the month of March 2021 with 89 trials. December 2020 saw the second most clinical trials. The third quarter of 2020 saw the most for any quarter from Q1 2020 to Q1 2021 (Figure 1). Although several vaccines are available now in various countries, there has been an increase in trials lately due to these same approved vaccines testing against new variants of the virus.

On the other hand, Covid-19 clinical trials using therapeutics continue to decrease. This may be due to the increase in the availability of vaccines and the negative data in clinical trials from some therapeutics, such as hydroxychloroquine. The number of clinical trials peaked in April 2020, with 445 clinical trials. February 2021 saw the least number of clinical trials since the beginning of the pandemic with only 80 trials, while the first quarter of 2021 also saw a decrease compared to the same time in 2020 (Figure 2).

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