Patient Resources for COVID-19

This period of time raises lots of questions for clinical trial participants. There will be some temporary changes to our studies, and those happening throughout the rest of the world.

The situation regarding COVID-19 is changing on a daily basis. We’ll be updating this page regularly with information on our studies, as well as the latest in vaccine and therapeutic research and helpful resources about medical conditions and COVID-19 .

Many aspects of the patient experience have changed due to the virus. The Patients Association is looking for people to give feedback on the impacts of coronavirus on care – Please follow this link to be taken to the survey which you can also complete on behalf of someone else.

This Reuters report contains a summary of the latest developments with further reading. If you would like to stay on top of the facts, the Myth busters section of the WHO website are good places to start.

What are the facts?

There is a lot of misinformation spreading about COVID-19.

COVID-19 is a zoonotic illness caused by one of many hundreds of coronaviruses. Other notable coronaviruses are MERS 2012 and SARS 2003. A zoonotic virus causes disease in animals, but has made the jump to humans. When humans encroach on territory held by wild animals, the risk of humans coming into contact with novel zoonotic diseases is heightened. The close proximity of live animals and animal slaughter practices increase this risk, and this was the case in the wet market in Wuhan where the outbreak has been traced back to. Although there is still not sufficient evidence to indicate exactly how this specific coronavirus was transferred to human beings, there have been some attempts to understand exactly what happened, which you can read here.

The animal origin of COVID-19 has not yet been identified, but bats are a possible source. Bats are hosts to many types of zoonotic viruses, including Ebola, HIV and rabies. Zoonotic diseases usually stay locked away in nature, but are often unearthed because of human behaviour. This is why there have been calls to ban wildlife markets in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

As with any issue of global concern, alternative theories circulate. Read some of the most common debunked conspiracies on COVID-19 here.

Has my trial been affected?

There may be some temporary changes to your study.

At the beginning of the pandemic, clinical trials across the world were being postponed, delayed or closed early. This was to ensure the health and safety of all clinical trial participants whilst COVID-19 was a new and emerging threat the scientific community was in the early stages of understanding.

Science is very much still learning about the novel coronavirus which first appeared in December 2019, but now has a much broader understanding of the virus due to the data collected from hundreds of clinical trials and studies on the disease.

As the number of cases fall throughout the UK (despite always being at risk of an uptick), many Pharmaceutical companies and government research agencies like the NIHR, believe the time is right to restart non-Covid-19 activities that were postponed or cancelled during the early stages of the pandemic. Our clinic is operating as usual now, with the majority of our studies open to new participants, and our hardworking team utilising PPE and additional hygiene measures to keep you safe.

The patient journey article image

What is the latest with the COVID-19 vaccine effort?

The race is on to prevent people becoming sick, and to successfully treat those who do.

As of right now, there is no approved coronavirus vaccine, but vaccine trials are progressing consistently with several yielding promising preliminary results. Check this Covid-19 tracker for the most up to date information on the 42 vaccine candidates.

The Oxford University phase III adenovirus-vectored vaccine has shown in clinical trials to produce the desired immune response in humans. Whilst the findings are promising, there is not enough data as of yet to know if this is enough of a response to offer protection. Large scale trials are taking place for the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine in emerging coronavirus hotspots around the world, such as Brazil and South Africa.

The two other vaccine candidates in phase III, are Moderna’s RNA vaccine and Sinovac’s inactivated whole virus candidate. Both Sinovac and Moderna are trialling, or are attempting to trial their vaccines in Brazil due to the climb in cases in the region allowing for more reliable data collection.

Can we treat COVID-19?

There are no treatments approved to treat COVID-19 yet.

So far, we do not have an approved therapeutic treatment for Covid-19. Stay up to date with the latest Covid-19 drug development via this therapeutic tracker.

The UK is running the world’s largest therapeutic trial, called Recovery. More than 12,000 patients have been enrolled onto the study to test the safety and efficacy of either hydroxychloroquine, dexamethasone, or lopinavir-ritonavir in treating coronavirus. 

So far, the cheap and readily available steroid, dexamethasone, is the only treatment proven to save lives. Other treatments such as convalescent plasma are in the early stages of clinical trials, but preliminary data is encouraging.

Concerns and queries about the impact of COVID-19 on clinical trials

What are the most reputable sources for information on COVID-19?

There is an abundance of information on the outbreak, and where/how you choose to access this information is up to you. There are however some sources more reputable than others, and we have listed these below. You should always think carefully about what you are reading, and cross examine things that seem far fetched or unreliable. Be wary of scams and “cures” – there is no cure for the illness caused by COVID-19 currently, but researchers are working hard on treatments and vaccines.

  1. World Health Organisation 
  2. Gov.UK
  3. Center for Disease Control 

What are some of the most common ways my study could be affected by COVID-19?

There are several ways your study might change.

  1. You may be shifted to at-home care, or receive your updates via phone call instead of at the clinic
  2. Your study visits may be reduced
  3. If you are in the early stages of enrolment, this may be paused until it is safe to resume in line with government guidelines
  4. You may be required to attend an off-premise lab for testing and collection of results

What type of questions should I ask my study coordinator?

The safety of our patients is our top priority, and we’re expecting you to have questions about your care going forward.

  1. If my study visits are reduced, will this affect my care?
    • Our priority is to ensure your safety at all times. You will always have access to our 24 hour emergency call line for out of hours concerns plus you can get in touch with our study doctors during the working day with any queries you have about your health and care in relation to the study.
  2. What will happen to my study medication?
    • The impact of the situation is different for each study. Your Study Coordinator will be able to take you through what happens with your study medication in detail. For some studies it may involve having the study medication shipped directly to your home or for other studies you may have to temporarily slow down or stop your study medication for this period.
  3. Will my study doctors still be available?
    • Yes, our study doctors are still working with us at St Pancras Clinical Research and will be contactable as usual.
  4. I was supposed to screen for a study, what will happen now?
    • For most studies right now, screening activity is at bare minimum to avoid any unnecessary risks. We will be in touch with you about your screening visit status and we will keep you updated as the situation develops to keep you in the loop! We hope to be inviting people in for screening visits in the near future.

You can contact us via your Study Coordinator or alternatively at patientcare@stpancrasclinical.com with any concerns you may have.

What can I take away from the above?

The most difficult part of what is happening right now is the uncertainty the situation brings to every one of us. As humans, we want answers, timeframes, a date by which we can start planning to resume our lives. The absence of this is distressing, but know that it will eventually come. As always, there are reasons to be hopeful and the efforts being made to speed up the processes which will give us vaccines and an effective therapeutic treatment are unprecedented. See below for helpful articles on navigating this crisis if you live with chronic pain, diabetes or dementia.

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If you are a person with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, you may be feeling anxious about how your illness could increase the risks associated with a COVID-19 infection. Since coronavirus…
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COVID-19 And Diabetes

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Our statement on COVID-19.

Click here to read.