Impact of COVID-19 on clinical trials and clinical research: A systematic review

Keywords: COVID-19, pandemic, clinical trial, SARS-CoV-2, research capacity, systematic review

Abstract

Background: The World Health Organization has reported more than 31,186,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19), including 962,343 deaths, worldwide as on September 21, 2020. The current COVID-19 pandemic is affecting clinical research activities in most parts of the world. The focus on developing  a vaccine for SARS-CoV-2 and the treatment of COVID-19 is, in fact, disrupting many upcoming and/or ongoing clinical trials on other diseases around the globe. On March 18, 2020, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an updated guideline for the conduct of clinical trials during the current health emergency situation. The potential challenges, such as social distancing and quarantines, result in study participants’ inaccessibility and trial personnel for in-person scheduled study visits and/or follow-up. Due to the sudden onset and wide-spread impact of COVID-19, its influence on the management of clinical trials and research necessitates urgent attention. Therefore, our systematic review of the literature aims to assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the conduction of clinical trials and research. The search for the relevant articles for review included the keywords "COVID-19” AND "clinical trial" in PubMed, MEDLINE, Embase, Google scholar and Google electronic databases. Key findings include: delaying subject enrollment and operational gaps in most ongoing clinical trials, which in turn has a negative impact on trial programmes and data integrity. Globally, most sites conducting clinical trials other than COVID-19 are experiencing a delay in timelines and a complete halt of operations in lieu of this pandemic, thus affecting clinical research outcomes.

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Author Biographies

Brijesh Sathian, Rumailah Hospital, Hamad Medical Corporation, Doha, Qatar

Scientist, Geriatric and long term care Department,  Rumailah Hospital and Centre for Midwifery, Maternal and Perinatal Health, Bournemouth University, Bournemouth, England, United Kingdom

Mohammad Asim, Trauma Surgery, Hamad General Hospital, Doha, Qatar

Surgery Department

Indrajit Banerjee, Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Medical College: Belle Rive, Vacoas-Phoenix, Mauritius

Associate Professor, Department of Pharmacology

Ana Beatriz Pizarro, Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Bogotá, Colombia

Cochrane Colombia

Bedanta Roy, Faculty of Medicine, QIUP, Malaysia

Senior Lecturer, Department of Physiology

Edwin R. van Teijlingen, Bournemouth University, Bournemouth, England, United Kingdom

Professor, Centre for Midwifery, Maternal and Perinatal Health

Israel Júnior Borges do Nascimento, University Hospital and School of Medicine, Federal University of Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil

and Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States of America

Hanadi Khamis Alhamad, Rumailah Hospital, Hamad Medical Corporation, Doha, Qatar

Geriatric and long term care Department

Published
2020-09-30
How to Cite
Sathian, B., Asim, M., Banerjee, I., Pizarro, A., Roy, B., van Teijlingen, E., Nascimento, I., & Alhamad, H. (2020). Impact of COVID-19 on clinical trials and clinical research: A systematic review. Nepal Journal of Epidemiology, 10(3), 878-887. https://doi.org/10.3126/nje.v10i3.31622
Section
Systematic Reviews