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Trial Effects

As some clinical trial work has continued during the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers are concerned that the virus may have affected their studies in ways they haven't yet fully realized, ScienceInsider reports.

Some trials, it notes, have closed down, but others such as ones on HIV prevention and cancer treatment have continued, but sometimes with tweaks such as delayed appointments. "We're all going to have to plan for how we account for the impact of COVID," Janet Dancey from Queens University tells it.

With randomized controlled trials, Howard Burris from Sarah Cannon Reserach Institute and president of the American Society of Clinical Oncology says at ScienceInsider that he's hopeful that the differences will shake out. However, if trial participants themselves become ill with COVID-19, that brings up additional issues. That, Dancey notes, could reduce trials' power to discern differences between their treatment and control groups.

Still, the researchers note that their first priority is patients' safety and that if they document deviations from the study plan, they can later try to account for that change.