Since early March, more than 500 companies have publicly announced disruptions to their planned and ongoing clinical trials due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Many companies have delayed the initiation of planned trials or withdrawn them completely, and others have suspended enrolment in their ongoing trials or terminated the trials altogether. The majority of trial disruptions can be attributed to patient safety measures, strict lockdown requirements, social distancing procedures, and the high demand on medical professionals to treat Covid-19 patients.
As the initial peak of the virus started declining, many trials were set to resume activity. However, the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases is increasing again globally, especially in Western areas such as the US and Europe.
The COVID-19 Dashboard on GlobalData’s Pharma Intelligence Center dynamically tracks both disrupted and resumed trials. As of 16 November, the number of resumed trials has increased from over 797 to 841. Out of these trials, 78.6% are currently recruiting participants, 8.9% have completed recruitment but are still ongoing, and 0.7% of trials have yet to start recruiting subjects. The figure below shows that there is a very slight, steady increase of trials resuming activity. Initially, the general trend showed a gradual increase in the overall percentage of trials for each trial status, the biggest of which has been seen in ongoing, recruiting trials and ongoing, not recruiting trials. However, between 12 October and 16 November, ongoing, recruiting trials decreased from 82.4% to 78.6%, and completed trials only increased from 6.8% to 8.1%.
The US has the highest number of resumed trials at 70.4%, followed by the UK at 8.9%, France at 7.3%, and Spain and Germany at 6.7% each. The resumption of lockdown in the UK and some states in the US may be contributing to the slight slowing in the trajectory of resumed trials. A Covid-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech has recently published preliminary data proving to be 95% effective with no safety concerns. This was followed by Moderna’s announcement that its Covid-19 vaccine candidate showed to be 95% effective against the strain of Covid-19. With the announcement of the success of two vaccine candidates, it appears that development is underway for global vaccination procedures. If successful, restriction measures may be eased considerably by spring 2021, forecasting for an increased number of non-Covid-19-related trials to resume activity.