Clinical trials: How will clinical trials help in coronavirus outbreak? Can you sign up?

Coronavirus cases are continuing to grow across the globe, with scientists working to understand the new – novel – virus. As it is a never before seen coronavirus, there are no vaccines or treatments for it.

In a press conference from Downing Street on Tuesday, England Health Service official Stephen Powis said the first person has been recruited into clinical trails on drug to fight coronavirus.

National medical director of NHS England, Professor Stephen Powis, was asked whether anti-malarial medication chloroquine – which the UK has placed under an export ban – was being considered for use to treat coronavirus.

He said: “There are number of drugs where there is a lot of interest that they may potentially have an effect in the treatment of the virus and the ones that you mentioned – which are chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine – those are drugs that, as you say, have been used in malaria are on that list.

“There is a lot of interest both internationally and also in the UK to learn how those drugs might be used. Here in the UK we want to do as much as we possibly can within the context of clinical trials.

“We have excellent networks already set up to be able to do clinical trials and it’s important that we do that to absolutely learn where the drugs potentially work and where they don’t.”

What are clinical trials? 

According to the NHS: “A clinical trial compares the effects of 1 treatment with another.  It may involve patients, healthy people, or both.”

All clinical trials of new medicines go through a series of phases to test whether they’re safe and whether they work.

The medicines will usually be tested against another treatment called a control.

There is no typical length of time it takes for a drug to be tested and approved. It might take 10 to 15 years or more.

However, with the urgency of coronavirus it could in fact be fast-tracked.

If you want to participate in coronavirus clinical trials, there are ways for you to do so. 

Any COVID-19 trials which are open for enrolment should be registered on a public site and you may wish to search these websites:

Here is some advice from the NHS on signing up for clinical trials:

Some clinical trials offer payment, which can vary from hundreds to thousands of pounds depending on what’s involved and expected from you.

Some trials do not offer payment and just cover your travel expenses.

It’s important to find out about the inconvenience and risks involved before you sign up, and to carefully weigh up whether it’s worth it.

Do you have any questions about the coronavirus, self-isolating or the Government lockdown?

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