The words compassion, unity, and charity are some of the words that are widely used since the pandemic of COVID-19 started this year. Donation drives have been initiated by groups and individuals. Companies have given cash donations or food and other basic necessities. Millions of dollars were shelled out to address the lack of personal protective equipment for our health care providers. People have been sharing their services and talents for free. These are the common ways we can contribute to combating the deadly virus.
Did you know that you can join a clinical trial and help in finding a solution to this problem as well?
Clinical trials are experimental studies done by professionals. They involve human participants to aid in discovering the effectivity of certain treatment modalities, new medical devices, and interventions. To discuss it further, let me inform you about the different classifications of a clinical trial based on their purpose.
- There are clinical trials that are focused on assessment or screening. Have you heard about the real-time polymerase chain reaction or RT-PCR? This is the one commonly used in hospitals, clinics, and drive-through testing centers. How about the other testing kit that involves antibodies? Before these products were released into the public, clinical trials were done to check how well they can identify the presence of coronavirus in a patient
- Recently, the country has been slowly accepting the use of face masks to protect ourselves from the virus. Did you notice that from the usage of N95 to surgical mask, the public has been informed that a simple or improvised face covering can already provide protection? How do you think this was concluded? Yes, through clinical trial testing on personal protective equipment. Vaccines are also part of this classification.
- Most clinical trials now are focused on finding treatments for the patient. They have been experimenting on available medications (whether or not directly related to a virus or respiratory drugs) to find out what can kill the novel coronavirus. Scientists assess promising COVID-19 treatments like remdesivir, EIDD-2801, avigan, chloroquine, and lopinavir.
- Health promotion is also one of the focuses of clinical trials. Scientists have tested food sources, vitamin supplements, lifestyles, effects of environment and even socialization to evaluate which practices can “prevent root causes of ill health – World Health Organization”.
In addressing these three key aspects of health, we can already conclude how beneficial clinical trials are. Now, you might be wondering how you can join. Here are some steps you can do.
- Assess a specific focus that you would like to be a part of. Be aware that not all individuals are qualified to join a clinical trial. For example, those who are tested positive can greatly help in finding treatments. On the other hand, individuals with negative results can help in health promotion.
- Study about clinical trials. On top of what I have discussed earlier, there are still many specific types of clinical studies. There are short-term and long-term studies. There are studies that will involve invasive procedures like blood extraction or throat swabbing.
- Start looking for clinical trials that have ongoing recruitment processes. Depending on the study, you might receive compensations in the form of cash or kind. Check if the location of the study is convenient for you. You may use clinicaltrials.gov or
- Ask questions. It is your right to know how you will be protected, for example. Ask about confidentiality – will your name or picture be taken and published? What will be the benefits and risks for you? How will you know the findings? How many days or weeks or months should you participate? Although it is mandatory for you to get informed consent, feel free to ask the researchers if you are not sure about certain instructions.
- Join and save mankind!
Being a part of a revolutionary finding will not only be valuable for the world. It is a bragging right; it will be a good story to share in the future.