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Discovery & Development Drug Discovery, Digital Technologies, Vaccines, Translational Science, COVID-19

Tracking the Pandemic

Edward Mills, Vice President of Real-World Evidence and Senior Principal Scientist at Cytel.

“COVID-19 has created extreme uncertainties – a dearth of historical information combined with the need for safety, statistical rigor, and speed has prompted the rapid surge in the generation of clinical data,” says Edward Mills, Vice President of Real-World Evidence and Senior Principal Scientist at Cytel, a provider of advanced analytics and statistical software solutions to the life sciences sector. 

But the volume of new data being produced presents a significant problem: information is scattered across multiple platforms, making it challenging to comparatively measure treatment effects across trials. Attempting to pull this data into one platform, Cytel – in collaboration with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation – has created a global, open-access COVID-19 clinical trial tracker.

Mills hopes the tracker’s live dashboard will encourage more international cooperation; scientists and other stakeholders can find the most up-to-date information on registered trials in one place, and reach out to researchers who have already made some headway. “As more results begin to come in, our data scientists will curate information from different trials to provide insights regarding various patient subpopulations. This should also help our international research community to avoid duplicating studies,” Mills adds.

Initially, the company asked their partners to supply them with data, but they have now tapped into trial registries in several countries. As new trials begin, they are added to the tracker. Projections based on these data – for example, when patient enrolment will end or when a trial is likely to reach completion – are also generated and can be easily accessed. Additionally, companies who want to share their trial designs or results can  do so through submissions directly on the website.

According to Mills, the rapid launch of the platform can be put down to the international level of collaboration the pandemic has inspired. “There has been a substantial increase in cooperation among industries and countries normally competing with each other. It is fascinating, as a scientist, to see so many great minds working through a variety of difficult challenges to achieve the same objective.”

The COVID-19 Clinical Trials Tracker can be accessed at  www.covid19-trials.com

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About the Author
Maryam Mahdi

Associate Editor

After finishing my degree, I envisioned a career in science communications. However, life took an unexpected turn and I ended up teaching abroad. Though the experience was amazing and I learned a great deal from it, I jumped at the opportunity to work for Texere. I'm excited to see where this new journey takes me!

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