Many patients may be surprised to find out the treatment they are taking is not any better than a placebo. Clinicians may think this is no big deal, as long as the person is feeling better and is grateful.
It is clear that clinical trials now exist in a different world from what researchers, IRBs, and sponsors experienced in 2019. The key challenges are how to restart clinical trials, how to return to in-person visits, and how to manage the growing number of studies related to COVID-19.
Innovative neuroscience research is vital, but individuals with mental illness pose some unique ethical concerns in terms of their participation. The results of a recent study provided some reassurance on the decision-making processes of individuals.
All clinical trials raise certain ethical issues. But trials conducted during epidemics are especially difficult, both ethically and practically. Poorly designed studies subject patients to the risks of adverse events without learning if the intervention works.
While some researchers try to learn useful information from COVID-19 case data, other scientists are working on the early stages of various clinical trials, seeking a pharmaceutical remedy to the virus.