Virtual clinical trials in the aftermath of COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic shocked us when we least expected it and impacted our lives in a way that we could never imagine. Technology-wise, it will be remembered as one of the key drivers of digital transformation throughout the history of mankind.

The possibility of reducing traditional face-to-face interactions in clinical trials was heavily debated when the COVID-19 crisis was at its worst last spring. These discussions are crucial even in the aftermath of COVID-19. Despite many attempts to include different remote approaches in clinical trials, the pharma industry and the healthcare sector have not fully adapted to digital transformation, nor do our regulatory systems currently allow for such a shift. 

In an ever-changing world, it is important to adjust to new circumstances and adopt new methods in a constructive and reasonable way. Therefore, we need to re-evaluate the principles and the traditional processes that clinical trials currently revolve around, and replace them with different virtual platforms, at least as much as possible. 

We should make a serious transition toward remote clinical trials. It is vital that regulatory authorities join the pharma and biotech industries, as well as healthcare professionals, to find a common understanding and new solutions to the challenges we are faced with when performing clinical trials. This way, we can secure the conduct of clinical trials in a sustainable way and continue to deliver new treatments to patients, particularly during pandemics and crises.  

Veronica Kalhori

PhD in Cell Biology, Oncology

Scientific Advisor