International Clinical Trials Day: Why Is it Celebrated?
May 20 holds a special place on the calendar to celebrate International Clinical Trials Day. This initiative to support the value of clinical research is due to its great contributions to the quality of life and life expectancy of people throughout the world.
One of the data that has clinical trials as its hero is the increase of 10 years in life expectancy in Europe during the last 6 decades. At the same time, deaths due to HIV/AIDS have decreased by about 80%.
The importance of the clinical trial lies in reducing the death rate from lethal diseases. In this sense, in the following article, we’re going to discover the history of clinical trials, point out their benefits for society, make visible the objectives of the journey, and observe the best way to show your support.
The history of clinical trials
History provides the reason for the choosing of May 20 as International Clinical Trials Day. Before knowing the origins, we must be clear that the definition of a clinical trial is the evaluation or experimental study of some substance, product, drug, or treatment technique to assess its degree of effectiveness.
Therefore, to go back to the birth of clinical trials, we must go back to the 18th century, when the British physician James Lind led the way with his discovery. Initially, Lind set out to find a cure for scurvy, a condition that was ravaging sailors in the British navy.
So, the epic moment came when Lind was assigned as surgeon to the frigate HMS Salisbury. After eight weeks, scurvy – about which there wasn’t much information at the time – began to affect the crew, which sparked the Edinburgh-born surgeon’s inventiveness to test the crew members and corroborate his theory regarding the action of acid.
Among the measures Lind took to carry out his tests were the following:
- First, he divided 12 sick sailors into six pairs.
- Then, he supplied varied supplements in the diet of each one, using lemon, orange, cider, vinegar, and diluted sulfuric acid.
- Next, he monitored the variables of the process.
- Then, he evaluated the improvement of the patients.
- Finally, he drew important conclusions based on the evolution of the two patients who had lemon and orange in their diet.
The benefits of clinical trials in society
The benefits of the analysis we’ve been delving into are very broad. Despite this, in the following list, we can observe the main benefits of clinical trials for society:
- Clinical trials improve the life expectancy of the world population.
- What’s more, they reduce the costs of poorly addressed treatments.
- They also reduce the possible side effects of drugs.
- At the same time, they increase the alternatives for preventing or curing diseases.
- Finally, they increase knowledge about rare diseases.
The International Clinical Trials Day Celebration
The European Clinical Research Infrastructure Network (ECRIN) launched the International Clinical Trials Day Celebration in 2005. Following that line, they defined May 20 to commemorate the well-known and famous initiative of James Lind in 1747.
Likewise, we find that its general objectives are to raise awareness, make visible, recognize, and inform about the importance of clinical trials for the quality of life and life expectancy of mankind. Along with this, there’s a specific objective for 2021 which focuses on the proliferation of accurate data on adaptive platform trials.
This type of clinical trial grants the possibility of making a comparison of different treatments with a single control.
The European Commission believes that this is a viable way to combat epidemics and pandemics. Therefore, on the International Clinical Trials Day 2021, the goal has been set to put an end to doubts such as the following:
- What are the underlying objectives of a platform trial?
- What parameters should be taken into account in the design, statistical plan, and data management?
- How should regulatory and ethical issues, as well as patient participation, be addressed?
- What kind of managerial, economic, and governance concerns may be encountered when we use this testing model?
Some of the initiatives for this day are as follows:
- ICTD 2021 Virtual Conference: Platform trials: Change in treatment, testing, and collaboration.
- Virtual conferences of experts showing the phases of research (basic, pre-clinical trials, and clinical trials).
- Donation campaigns and the involvement of different companies in clinical trial advances.
- Latin America – Europe Symposium on Research Infrastructure (held after the International Clinical Trials Day, between June 15 and 17, but with related objectives).
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How can I participate?
The ways to participate are related to social networks, through the use of official resources for profiles, posters, photos, messages of support towards the work done, and more. Do this with the hashtags #CTD2021 and #clinicaltrialsday.
In addition, there are platforms and recruitment programs for people who intend to take the initiative to volunteer. The Society of Clinical Research Associates (SOCRA) allows for certifications and testing to be done from home.
International Clinical Trials Day for better living
As a final consideration, one of the best things you can do is get informed. This way, you can help spread the knowledge about the importance of clinical trials.
Also, the role of the patients who are part of the trials is essential to achieve the desired medical effectiveness goals. Overall, everyone’s help is important so that the International Clinical Trials Day serves to catalyze and increase alternatives against diseases that continue to harm many people.
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