This week we look at the ethical challenges facing neuroscientists as they recruit patients for clinical research. We also look at a ride share company entering the health care space and what it may mean for clinical trial recruitment, CBD as a prevention measure for COVID-19, deltacron and Pfizer/BioNTech’s omicron vaccine clinical trial.
Some neurological research is best performed with direct access to a patient’s brain. With limited availability of patients, some patients are subjected to recruitment when they are particularly vulnerable and preparing for a serious surgery. The recruiters may even be their surgeon who is also serving as an investigator. In these cases, how would someone verify that a patient’s participation is truly voluntary? This article examines the ethical questions surrounding these situations.
Clinical trials continue to suffer from enrollment issues. Over the past five years, approximately two-thirds of clinical trials have reported that they haven’t met enrollment needs. Patient access may play a part in this issue. Collaborations with transportation companies and ride share companies with an integrated health care function may be a piece in the puzzle that solves this issue. Uber has recently hired a chief medical officer for its health business. This article explores Uber’s opportunities in the space.
Recent research claims that cannabidiol (CBD) inhibits infection of SARS-CoV-2 in cells and mice according to an article prepared by researchers from the University of Chicago and the Center for Predictive Medicine for Biodefense and Emerging Infection Diseases. Additionally, a national sample of patients with active records of CBD consumption at the time of COVID-19 testing reveal that CBD has a significant negative association with positive SARS-CoV-2 tests. Researchers claim that CBD merits future clinical trials as a potential preventative agent for early-stage SARS-CoV-2.
The super-variant COVID-19 strain, dubbed “deltacron” snagged headlines on Jan. 7 when a research team announced that it had identified several SARS-COV-2 genomes featuring elements of both delta and omicron. Since then, the research community has debunked the strain which most believe to be a result of lab contamination. This article highlights the spread of misinformation and the unique challenge scientists are under to scrutinize their communications.
Pfizer and BioNTech have launched their omicron-targeted vaccine clinical trial. The study will include up to 1,420 participants, age 18 through 55. The companies have previously announced that they expect to produce four billion doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in 2022, and this capacity is not expected to change if an adapted vaccine is required.