Since early last March, around 1,000 organisations supporting clinical trials as a sponsor, collaborator or contract research organisation (CRO) have announced disruptions to planned and ongoing clinical trials. Companies have delayed the initiation of planned trials or withdrawn them completely, have suspended enrolment in ongoing trials, or have terminated these trials. GlobalData tracks these disrupted trials and organisations, along with trials that have resumed activity since disruption.
Since last June, the number of total disrupted trials has been falling slowly, as shown in Figure 1, but this levelled off in October. Most disruptions are caused by slow enrolment. Trials impacted by enrolment suspension as well as delayed initiation have been falling. This suggests trials that had initiated enrolment before the pandemic with chosen sites and investigators, but were then suspended due to Covid-19, are having more success picking up where they left off when enrolment wasn’t impacted.
Many hospitals that serve as trial sites were inundated with Covid-19 patients and may still not be available; likewise, many investigators may have been reassigned to Covid-19 drug discovery trials or treating Covid-19 patients while the activation of sites for non-Covid-19 trials is being deprioritised. There is also a high risk to subjects in a clinical trial who have a serious chronic or acute condition that affects their immune system, giving them a greater chance of contracting Covid-19 and making them unwilling to enrol in a clinical trial. The rollout of vaccinations in countries such as the UK and US may begin to combat this issue