For hundreds of years now, science, together with research, has progressed throughout the years to learn more about life, the world we live in, our co-habitants on this planet, the processes around us, and more. For information to be stored in the universal body of knowledge that we have, it undergoes multi-layered validation and further studies to complete all the details and find interconnections with other information to work on the universe’s puzzle.
Due to the pandemic crisis brought about by COVID-19, we have often heard about clinical trials and them being the basis of vaccines’ efficacy. Clinical trials are not only intended for the virus we are facing now. It has been around for many years and has been used to make the medical and healthcare field stronger, more effective, systematic, accurate, and universal.
What are Clinical Trials?
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), a clinical trial is a type or form of research that aims to study and evaluate new treatments and tests on their effects on our health. These clinical trials examine medical interventions such as surgical procedures, radiological procedures, behavioural therapies, devices, cells and various biological products, preventive care, and drugs, which include vaccines. The results of the clinical trials then contribute to the existing medical body of knowledge related to diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of various diseases and conditions.
Clinical trials are first studied, designed, and reviewed carefully by researchers. Afterwards, these will be evaluated and approved by certified authorities credible and experts on the subject. Once it receives approval, clinical teams then administer these trials.
There are different types of clinical trials that cater to different kinds of purposes, such as:
- Quality of Life Trials
With this type of trials, research teams will test and validate practices, treatments, and therapy in improving the quality of life of people who bear the pain and suffering from chronic illnesses.
- Treatment Trials
This type of trials tests new treatments, practices, therapy, and medicines.
- Screen Trials
This is conducted to develop ways of identifying health diseases and conditions
- Prevention Trials
Prevention trials work on discovering and improving ways to prevent diseases and minimize their impact on one’s health.
- Diagnostic Trials
Through diagnostic trials, researchers test various tools and ways that help diagnose certain conditions or diseases.
Why are Clinical Trials Essential?
Think of all the medicines we use today, the surgeries we have, and the knowledge and practices existing on treating and preventing diseases and different conditions. Clinical trials have played a significant role in all these. Here are some of the most significant reasons and advantages of quality clinical trials:
Through clinical trials, the effects of medical interventions on different people and groups such as age, gender, ethnic groups, race and such, will be discovered and identified. Once the effects manifest, the researchers will further examine the causes of the impact resulting from the trial to determine where the issues come from, address them, and improve.
With the situation that we’ve had for the past year due to COVID-19, pharmaceutical companies, research teams, and more have urgently and vigorously worked hard to produce a vaccine that is effective and safe to combat the virus. Herd immunity is when people become immune to a particular infectious disease. Achieving herd immunity against the coronavirus will help mitigate this disease’s transmission to more people, thus keeping the breakout under control. The most effective way for a person to develop immunity is to get vaccinated against the disease. There were many infectious diseases before, such as polio, measles, chickenpox, mumps, and the likes that were once prevalent in communities. Now, because of vaccines and the development of herd protection, breakouts are rarely experienced.
Vaccines can only be completed after clinical trials. Participants will be vaccinated, and it will only be until the vaccine earns a high efficacy rate among a large group of people that it can be rolled out and used by many. Without clinical trials, they cannot be deemed safe and effective. With this, we will be able to prevent the recurrence and development of various conditions and diseases.
More often than not, people voluntarily take part in these clinical trials. However, some clinical trials offer compensation to encourage people to participate in these trials. Anyone can participate in clinical trials. However, some clinical trials have specific requirements on who is eligible and ideal for the clinical trials. Still, there are clinical trials that cater to people of all ages wherein children can be part of them. The most important criteria that participants must fulfil are being informed and having the willingness to commit to a meaningful cause. You can find a clinical trial in Chicago where you can volunteer to advance our medical and healthcare systems.
Why should I participate in clinical trials?
Here are some of the potential benefits that you can earn when you take part in clinical trials
When you’re a participant in clinical trials, you’ll be exposed to innovative treatments for free.
You’ll be an active participant when it concerns your healthcare.
Contribution to Society
As mentioned above, being part of a clinical trial goes a long way than merely testing for efficacy. When you volunteer, you are part of the journey of the whole development of a cure, solution, or prevention that can save many lives. Simply volunteering can do so much for the whole of humanity.
However, there are still risks that you may want to consider when you take part in clinical trials, such as having severe side effects from the treatment or even no effects at all.
What you should consider before volunteering as a participant in a clinical trial
As you know, clinical trials involve new medical interventions that have not been administered to many people, and the data on its effects are still inconclusive. You must understand all the details of the study and the requirements behind this clinical trial. You should know the level of complexity of the treatment that will be conducted upon you and other crucial information about it. If you deem that the trial is not in your best interest, it is not suitable for you, and you doubt it, you can decline in participating in the clinical trial. Informed consent will always be a requirement for people taking part in the clinical trial.