With the Coronavirus in full swing and countries across the world in the middle of social lockdown and social-distancing measures to stop the spread of the virus, it has become more important than ever before to discuss the merits of clinical trials and to look at how a vaccine for this killer virus can be found quickly. The processes in place to facilitate an accurate and effective clinical trial are an important part of the process of getting brand-new medicines and other pharma products to market. In the current climate, the search for a Covid-19 vaccine is in full swing and the most pressing concern for all countries.
The crisis caught many governments worldwide off guard, even with the warnings from China that a serious virus was developing in a worrying way, and in a much more aggressive way than previous potential pandemics of this century, such as SARS. What this has meant is widespread lockdown in many countries, or at the very least strict social distancing measures where people are only permitted outside of their homes to go grocery shopping or to get some exercise, apart from key workers who must continue to perform their job roles.
The most vulnerable in society are at the moment reliant on herd immunity to take hold, but that is a dangerous plan of action without a vaccine in the pipeline alongside it, so where are we at with a potential vaccine and clinical trials?
What is clear is that this will be the fastest ever development of a vaccine that we have ever seen. In the past, the average time from the beginnings of research into a vaccine, through clinical trials, and into the market, would be between five and seven years. With the Coronavirus impacting on the entire world, we are seeing multiple teams developing vaccines that should be ready for testing this year, and that is where clinical trials will have to be ready to go.
Let’s be clear, even if there was a vaccine that has been created today, it would not be available to the general public for a while yet. Clinical trials are an important part of the process, as they are designed to ensure that a product (or in this case a vaccine) is genuinely effective and that there are no nasty side effects that negate the positive side of the product. This is a stage that a potential Covid-19 vaccine will have to go through before the wider public can be vaccinated.
Clinical trials have always been an integral part of the progression of new medicines and pharma products. Without a clear and robust process of clinical trials it is difficult to ascertain the safety of a product and it cannot be put to market for public use. Pharma companies require the network and facilitation of clinical trials and transparency of process to ensure that new products are up to scratch and can be safely put to market. This is important more than ever before with the current Coronavirus crisis and the dire need of a vaccine to help end the lockdown that many countries are currently experiencing.