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Trials Figure Out Paths Forward Despite Pandemic

An Alzheimer's disease drug trial is forging ahead even with the difficulties raised by the COVID-19 pandemic, NPR reports.

The AHEAD trial, it adds, is studying whether a drug from the pharmaceutical company Eisai called BAN2401 reduces the amount of amyloid protein within Alzheimer's disease patients' brains, and patients have to undergo PET scans to gauge any changes in amyloid or tau protein levels in their brains.

That means, NPR notes, that participants have to make frequent trips to the hospital, which could increase their risk of exposure to COVID-19. Because of this, researchers from the University of California, Irvine, who are involved in the study, tell it that they've adopted a number of safety precautions, such as daily screenings for staff, spaced-out participant visits, use of personal protective equipment, and extra cleaning. 

"I've just been completely, totally inspired by the people enrolled in these studies, the majority of whom really want us to push ahead," Irvine's Joshua Grill tells NPR. He notes, though, that some participants have dropped out due to the risk of infection.