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Trials ; 23(1): 881, 2022 Oct 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2079536


AIM: To inform the oversight of future clinical trials during a pandemic, we summarise the experiences of the Data Monitoring Committee (DMC) for the Randomised Evaluation of COVID therapy trial (RECOVERY), a large-scale randomised adaptive platform clinical trial of treatments for hospitalised patients with COVID-19. METHODS AND FINDINGS: During the first 24 months of the trial (March 2020 to February 2022), the DMC oversaw accumulating data for 14 treatments in adults (plus 10 in children) involving > 45,000 randomised patients. Five trial aspects key for the DMC in performing its role were: a large committee of members, including some with extensive DMC experience and others who had broad clinical expertise; clear strategic planning, communication, and responsiveness by the trial principal investigators; data collection and analysis systems able to cope with phases of very rapid recruitment and link to electronic health records; an ability to work constructively with regulators (and other DMCs) to address emerging concerns without the need to release unblinded mortality results; and the use of videoconferencing systems that enabled national and international members to meet at short notice and from home during the pandemic when physical meetings were impossible. Challenges included that the first four treatments introduced were effectively 'competing' for patients (increasing pressure to make rapid decisions on each one); balancing the global health imperative to report on findings with the need to maintain confidentiality until the results were sufficiently certain to appropriately inform treatment decisions; and reliably assessing safety, especially for newer agents introduced after the initial wave and in the small numbers of pregnant women and children included. We present a series of case vignettes to illustrate some of the issues and the DMC decision-making related to hydroxychloroquine, dexamethasone, casirivimab + imdevimab, and tocilizumab. CONCLUSIONS: RECOVERY's streamlined adaptive platform design, linked to hospital-level and population-level health data, enabled the rapid and reliable assessment of multiple treatments for hospitalised patients with COVID-19. The later introduction of factorial assessments increased the trial's efficiency, without compromising the DMC's ability to assess safety and efficacy. Requests for the release of unblinded primary outcome data to regulators at points when data were not mature required significant efforts in communication with the regulators by the DMC to avoid inappropriate early trial termination.

COVID-19 , Adult , Child , Humans , Female , Pregnancy , Hydroxychloroquine/adverse effects , SARS-CoV-2 , Clinical Trials Data Monitoring Committees , Dexamethasone , Treatment Outcome
Ther Innov Regul Sci ; 56(3): 382-385, 2022 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1682774


In treatment or prevention of COVID-19, ivermectin is not approved by the United States (US) Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Nonetheless, in the US, prescriptions of ivermectin by healthcare providers have increased > tenfold from 3589 per week pre-COVID-19 to 39,102. Ivermectin is FDA approved for animals to treat parasites and for humans to treat intestinal strongyloidiasis and onchocerciasis orally, and ectoparasites and skin conditions topically. It is not a benign drug, with reported side effects including cutaneous, gastrointestinal, and cardiovascular symptoms. The evidence to support ivermectin to treat or prevent COVID-19 includes some basic research and inconsistent clinical observations that contribute to the formulation of a hypothesis of efficacy in COVID-19. At present, data from peer-reviewed published randomized trials of sufficient size, dose, and duration to reliably test the hypothesis of the most plausible small to moderate benefits on clinically relevant endpoints are sparse. In addition to the US FDA, the US National Institutes of Health, World Health Organization, and European Medicines Agency have all advised against ivermectin for treatment or prevention of COVID-19 outside of randomized trials. For ivermectin in treatment or prevention of COVID-19, healthcare providers should reassure all patients that if sufficient evidence were to emerge, then this drug could be considered a therapeutic innovation and regulatory authorities would approve the drug. In the meanwhile, we strongly recommend a moratorium on the prescription of ivermectin for the treatment or prevention of COVID-19 except in randomized trials to provide the most reliable test of the hypothesis.

COVID-19 Drug Treatment , Ivermectin , Animals , Humans , Ivermectin/adverse effects , Ivermectin/therapeutic use , Prescriptions , SARS-CoV-2
J Clin Epidemiol ; 126: 167-171, 2020 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-638330


Best practices of data monitoring committees (DMCs) in randomized clinical trials are well established. Independent oversight provided by DMCs is particularly important in trials conducted in public health emergencies, such as in HIV/AIDS or coronavirus epidemics. Special considerations are needed to enable DMCs to effectively address novel circumstances they face in such settings. In the COVID-19 pandemic, these include the remarkable speed in which data regarding benefits and risks of interventions are accumulated. DMCs must hold frequent virtual meetings, using state-of-the-art communication software that protects against risk for security breaches. Data capture and DMC reports should be focused on the most informative measures about benefits and risks. Because numerous clinical trials are being concurrently conducted in the COVID-19 setting, often addressing closely related scientific questions, structures for DMC oversight should be efficient and adequately informative. When these concurrently conducted trials are evaluating related regimens in related clinical settings, often individually underpowered for safety and having separate DMCs, processes should be implemented enabling these DMCs to share with each other emerging confidential evidence to better assess risks and benefits. Ideally a single DMC would monitor a portfolio of clinical trials or a trial with multiple arms, such as a platform trial.

Betacoronavirus , Clinical Trials Data Monitoring Committees , Clinical Trials as Topic/methods , Coronavirus Infections/therapy , Pneumonia, Viral/therapy , Research Design , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Humans , Pandemics/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2