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Penn State study finds decline in clinical trials amid Covid-19

08 Apr 2021 (Last Updated April 8th, 2021 18:13)

Researchers from Penn State College of Medicine in the US have reported that social distancing and lockdowns during the Covid-19 pandemic have affected the ability of clinical researchers to finish trials.

Penn State study finds decline in clinical trials amid Covid-19
More than 80% of clinical trials were suspended between 1 March and 26 April 2020 due to the pandemic. Credit: Bofu Shaw on Unsplash.

Researchers from Penn State College of Medicine in the US have reported that social distancing and lockdowns during the Covid-19 pandemic have affected the ability of clinical researchers to finish trials.

Between April and October last year, study completion rates across the globe declined between 13% and 23%, depending on the research sponsor type and geographic location.

As reported by the researchers earlier, more than 80% of clinical trials were suspended between 1 March and 26 April due to the pandemic.

Compared to April 2019, patient enrolment in clinical trials during the same month last year was low.

To study the impact of the pandemic on clinical research, the researchers examined more than 117,000 trials.

Their goal was to evaluate the way the mitigation efforts and financial setbacks of the pandemic have contributed to decreased clinical trial enrolment and completion.

The pandemic is believed to have reduced the number of new interventional clinical trial submissions to ClinicalTrials.gov by about 10%.

Depending on the sector and location of the trial source, completed trials were down 13% to 23%.

Pharmaceutical, biotechnology and therapeutic companies-sponsored clinical trials were more likely to complete enrolment.

Egypt experienced an increase in submitted (69%) as well as completed (73%) clinical trials in response to the country’s recent parliamentary bill governing medical research.

Penn State Cancer Institute researcher Berg said: “Clinical research response to the pandemic has been robust, but the impact of the pandemic on other types of clinical trials will be felt for decades to come.

“However, as demonstrated in Egypt, timely governmental action may be able to make a difference in reversing the pandemic’s impact on research.”