New COVID-19 strains are causing clinical trial resumptions to slow

Many clinical trials were set to resume activity as the initial peak of the COVID-19 virus started declining. However, with the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases rising globally, especially in Western areas such as the US and Europe, along with two more infectious variants of COVID-19, this has led to increased restrictive measures and has slowed down the resumption of disrupted clinical trials, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

As of January 25, 2021, 929 disrupted trials have resumed. Out of these trials, 71.9% are currently recruiting participants, 12.8% have completed recruitment but are still ongoing and 0.5% of trials have yet to start recruiting subjects.

Priya Nair, Analyst, Trials Intelligence at GlobalData, comments: “There is a slight, steady increase of trials resuming activity, with the initial general trend showing a gradual increase in the overall percentage of trials for each trial status. However, between December 23 and January 25, ongoing recruiting trials decreased from 74.6% to 71.9%, and completed trials increased from 10.6% to 12.8%. 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.”

Geographically, the US has the highest number of resumed trials at 87.5%, followed by the UK at 10.8%, Spain at 9%, France at 8.8%, and Germany at 8.1%. These numbers could be affected by the population of COVID-19 patients available for recruitment.

Nair adds: “With the global rollout of three main COVID-19 vaccines, Pfizer/BioNTech, Oxford/AstraZeneca and Moderna, the global figures for COVID-19 cases could decrease in upcoming months. If this occurs, then the potential of disrupted trials resuming could be likely.”

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