Clinical research is seeing widespread disruption as sponsors continue to pause their studies in light of the COVID-19 crisis. One industry expert, however, has observed a level of resilience in the responses from sponsors and research sites and predicts research will pick up quickly after the crisis is over.
Rachel Truxall, corporate director of business development at Insearch Group, reveals that even in recent weeks, sponsors have continued to award sites with studies. Site selection criteria has not been significantly impacted although sponsors are paying close attention to sites’ abilities to remain operational at this time and in the future. Research sites continue to be receptive to taking on studies, although a few have had to make adjustments in the types of trials they take.
One opportunity is the influx of COVID-19 treatment and vaccine trials. While current trials are only in phase 1, Rachel sees phase 2 trials close on the horizon as sponsors ramp up preparations. Insearch has fielded a number of site qualification inquiries from clinical research organizations on COVID-19 trials, both for treatment of symptoms and for preventive vaccination.
Once the stay-at-home orders get relaxed, Rachel anticipates a sharp jump in trial starts as sponsors pick up where they left off. Until then, Rachel advises research sites to maintain regular communication with sponsors and CROs to preserve patient safety, as well as to think of creative ways of generating revenue or participating in studies (e.g., by partnering with other sites) to sustain themselves.