The coronavirus pandemic has affected various sectors of the economy, with the health-care sector being the most overwhelmed. The public health and economic burdens that the pandemic has caused call for us to reevaluate our approach to developing new therapies and vaccines. In an attempt to gather what can be applied to research and development in the future, we look at a few useful lessons that health-care researchers can gain from this pandemic experience.
At the onset of the pandemic, there was a lot about the coronavirus that was unknown. We observed many organizations working together to learn more about this highly infectious disease, which resulted in a lot of meaningful progress being made. Partnering up to develop therapies and drugs has always been done. However, the scale and intensity of the collaborations made during the pandemic period were unmatched.
Intellectual property and competition incentives are essential in fueling innovation that allows the pharmaceutical industry to help address crises. The pandemic has shown us that partnerships can mutually benefit everyone.
Apart from this, the pandemic has also highlighted the rigidity of clinical trial designs that are currently used. Many patients claim lack of access to trials as a primary reason why they do not take part in clinical trials. For instance, in cancer research, a majority of patients cannot access trials as they aren’t available in nearby institutions.
Recent social-distancing measures imposed in an attempt to curb the spread of the virus prompted the adoption of telehealth services, which allows patients who are geographically diverse to access trials where clinical sites are unavailable. A good adoption example of this would be the use of mobile laboratories, which can be brought directly to staff and residents of a variety of facilities. This eliminates the need for residents to travel in order to take part in a clinical trial, which also reduces the risk of exposure.
In addition to this, the adoption of other digital solutions in the pharmaceutical industry can be useful in reducing the time needed to enroll patients as well as help get treatments to the market sooner, which can literally save lives. For instance, research has found that trial sites that use a cloud-based system enroll 23% more patients than clinical trial sites that don’t.
Understanding, sharing and implementing the lessons we’ve learned from the fight against the coronavirus across the health-care system is a good way to improve the ways in which companies develop and distribute therapies to patients in need, which will make the system more accessible and efficient.
Collaboration is likely to play a bigger role in the biomedical sector, and AzurRx BioPharma Inc. (NASDAQ: AZRX) is already practicing this among its teams in New York, France and California as they work together on obtaining final regulatory approval for MS1819, the firm’s lead drug candidate.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to AzurRx BioPharma Inc. (NASDAQ: AZRX) are available in the company’s newsroom at https://ibn.fm/AZRX
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