Global Clinical Research Trends and Innovations in 2021

welocalize February 16, 2021

From the COVID-19 vaccine to eCOA Developmenttake a look at the global clinical research trends and innovations for 2021 and how they may impact the life sciences industry.  

Take a look at our previous post to learn about medical device trends to watch in 2021 impacting life sciences industries.  

The Impact of the Covid-19 Vaccine  

For any industry, the approval of various COVID-19 vaccines provided a glimpse of hope for 2021. Previous clinical research and trials have never received the level of global attention created from the efforts to develop a vaccine in response to COVID-19 

More than 200 vaccines are in development to protect against coronavirus, in a process taking place at unprecedented speeds. Scientists have been openly sharing their data with countries and clinical trial centers; presenting an opportunity to significantly reduce the time taken to get a drug developed for the market when there is enough funding and political will.  

By the end of March, Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca and Novavax should each be publishing data on their vaccines. The data produced from each clinical research trial is vital for understanding the success and failure of each vaccine development and understanding the effectiveness of each to benefit future clinical research and development trials.  

With widespread disruptions to clinical trials due to the prioritized COVID-19 vaccine, effective clinical research will continue to be in high demand to slow the spread of COVID-19. 

Preventing misinformation is critical to slowing the spread of COVID-19; read the latest article from Translators without Borders about how they are monitoring social media and other discussion platforms to understand concerns and identify the circulation of false information.

To find out more about how The World Health Organization plans to meet the clinical research demand for vaccine needs in poorer countriesReuters Health published this article. 

Adopting Decentralized Global Studies  

COVID-19 has established a new sense of normality; the demand and use of telemedicine and decentralized studies are expected to continue throughout the year. 

Experts predict larger shifts surrounding digital health, remote healthcare services and digitizing data transactions, enabling patients with remote treatment and monitoring. 

Decentralized studies remove the barriers of participation, ensuring wider access to eligible patients. With decentralized studies continuing to present valuable benefits to clinical research and trials, this trend is expected to remain a viable option beyond the coronavirus pandemic.  

Although not all clinical trials have the capacity to offer a fully decentralized approach implementing virtual components to traditional clinical trial practices to create a hybrid approach. 

An article published by Contract Pharma provides an overview of virtual clinical trials and the adoption of virtual and hybrid models during COVID-19.  

eCOA Development  

Following decentralized studies, Electronic Clinical Outcome Assessment Solutions (eCOA) is a clinical research innovation that improves the quality of clinical trials; capturing the trial outcomes from the patient’s perspective providing new insights into treatment benefits. 

The development of eCOA has led to additional alternatives providing detailed understanding of the best way to use eCOAFor example, web-hosted eCOA solutions help to reduce the development timeline to ensure faster results. These solutions are vital for providing real-time management and consistency check during clinical trials. The use of tablets and smartphones is becoming increasingly common and therefore means web-hosted eCOA is easily accessible for clinicians and patients.   

The eCOA Market is expected to grow significantly following the rise of clinical trials across North America. Clinicians rely on new technologies to assist with data management and provide ease of access for clinical trial management.  

The past twelve months have shown that in times of crisis, innovative alternatives through digital health technologies and remote working will continue for years to come. 


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