The NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) has announced that it will shut down clinical trials in the country while the COVID-19 pandemic rages on. With more than 12,000 cases and over 500 deaths, the NIHR CRN announced it would “pause” all clinical trials to redeploy medical staff to the COVID-19 battle. The NIHR CRN is a research powerhouse supporting last year alone over 6,100 clinical trials while enrolling more than 870,000 study participants.
Focus on Frontlines of the Pandemic
This NIHR CRN pause will allow for the government agency to redirect focus, resources, and talent toward priority COVID-19 clinical research, enabling the clinical and epidemiological evidence to be gathered to help guide UK policy while supporting the pursuit of novel vaccines and treatments.
MHRA Continues to Operate
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, the UKs regulatory body over drugs, diagnostics, and devices, shall continue to operate and offer approvals for studies with a priority model now in place.
About the NIHR
The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) is a United Kingdom government agency which funds research into health and care. It is the largest national clinical research funder in Europe with a budget of over £1 billion. Established in 2006, the NIHR is funded by the UK Department of Health and Social Care.
The Clinical Research Network
The NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) supports patients, the public, and health and care organizations across England to participate in high-quality research, advancing knowledge and improving care. The CRN is comprised of 15 Local Clinical Research Networks and 30 Specialties who coordinate and support the delivery of high-quality research both by geography and therapy area. National leadership and coordination is provided through the CRN Coordinating Centre. The CRN supported over 6,100 studies and recruited over 870,000 participants in 2018/2019.
Big Pharma Delays
At the same time, many big pharma companies are announcing slowdowns or temporary pauses on clinical trial programs while the companies redirect resources to combat COVID-19. For example, Pfizer, Merck, and not to mention Eli Lilly and Bristol Myers Squibb, have announced delays or pauses to a number of clinical trial programs while lock-downs continue in an attempt by national and regional governments to stop the spread of the virus.