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New Year, Same Pandemic. Progress Made, But the Fight Goes On

by Dan McDonald

It’s 2021 – Happy New Year to you and yours. The change of the calendar from December 31 to January 1 is a symbolic milestone for a new start, a clean slate, to turn over a new leaf, (insert your saying here). This year is no different. There are plenty of reasons for optimism and hope and a chance to make progress like never before. Yet, all around us, the news seems to be bad. The pandemic rages on. Rollout of the first vaccines is taking longer than expected. Political drama in the States and abroad. The stock market showing signs of a bubble about to burst.

OK, now, let’s pause together here. Take a deep breath in through your nose, keep inhaling – a little more – and a little more. Hold it…. Release slowly out through your mouth…. Ah, feel better now? I do, too.

So, what do we do about all this bad news? We continue to fight. Just because the year changed, the war isn’t won. We are winning battles, though. With enough battles won, so will go the War. Multiple new vaccines are available or hitting the market. Streamlined regulatory environments are now in place to drive research forward and take down traditional speed bumps and road blocks. Collaborative science is taking place among biopharmaceutical companies, and private and government entities. A front line workforce with a never-give-up spirit inspires us all to do more. The fight must go on — and it is.

Actively Enrolling, Enrolling by Invitation, & Not Yet Enrolling Covid-19 Trials Globally, as of January 26, 2021 Source www.clinicaltrials.gov

Source: www.clinicaltrials.gov

We have some vaccines available, but there are well over 4,000 additional trials enrolling or scheduled globally for vaccines and therapeutics, all focused on COVID-19. These are critically important to our long term success. They will help us learn more about the virus, how it spreads, who is impacted, how and why, and much more. The ongoing and upcoming studies will look at how vaccines and treatments act in different patient populations, from demographic to geographic differences – groups and subgroups. It all must be studied and explored in order not only to win the war, but to also ensure a lasting peace.

Here at Imperial, we are doing what we can to stay in the fight and support our clients. Some of our clients had between 60-90 percent of their trial activities put on hold in 2020. We have seen those companies rebound through the fourth quarter of 2020 and we have implemented a variety of time saving processes in order to start or restart trials quickly and boost enrollment. We are honored to have been asked by more than a dozen companies to support their COVID studies. This support has come in many forms, from patient engagement initiatives, to data collection tools, to shipment of ancillary supplies to home health care nurses for decentralized trials, to translation of many different types of information for patient understanding. We are helping out.

Please let us know if you would like help in jump-starting the trials you’ve put on hold, or meeting the challenging demands of COVID-19 study conduct. We are all in this together. Best wishes for a safe, happy, and especially healthy 2021.

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