How Clinical Trials Shape Our Response to Health Threats

Covid-19 has not left us and we are seeing many cases, with some still suffering symptoms from the last attack, known as Long-COVID.

This was stated by PROF DR. JAVED AKRAM, of the Akram Medical Complex and Caretaker Provincial Minister for Health & Social Welfare; at the media roundtable, while speaking on “COVID-19 still a public threat and the importance of clinical trials.”

Prof Akram further added that due the climate change, global warming and imbalance in environment all over the world including Pakistan viruses can be the biggest threat to human life as the above elements contribute in breeding of different viruses.

Pakistan being a nation of 250Million and with 2.9% annual increase in population has pushed to live in close proximity, which also becomes the cause of increase in communicable diseases.

He also explained different types of vaccines which are being used around the world including Pakistan to fight against various diseases.

Although COVID-19 cases have reduced, but at its peak it claimed 30,000 plus lives and infected more than 1.58 Million people in Pakistan. WHO has not downgraded the threat of COVID, as many variants are still prevalent in different parts of the world including Pakistan.

However, in most countries Clinical Research and Trails have played a major role in finding different medicines and vaccines, which have offered patients and the general public medical cover against the menace of this pandemic. Research and Clinical Trials have also resulted in introduction of medicines which reduce the severity of the disease.

DR MUHAMMAD AHMAD of Central Park Teaching Hospital and a leading Pulmonologist shared his views about the “Impact of clinical trials on a country and the current clinical trials’ misconception.” He explained that in Pakistan there is a misconception attached with clinical trials and the medicines being tested; one being that the administration of any trial medicine will make the participant impotent.

This is just a myth, there are always strict protocols which are to be followed, most of these are standardized by FDA (US Federal Drug Authority) which is a benchmark for all clinical trials supported in many countries’ own rules and procedures e.g. going through different levels of ethics committees.

The participants asked several questions from the speakers, responding to a question Dr Javed Akram explained that thorough research is required to measure the efficacy of any drug according to the climate, food, race and other factors of any particular country. Both the speakers explained different phases of clinical trials.

They also informed that Akram Medical Complex, Central Park Teaching Hospital and National Hospital & Medical Centre are facilitating the general public by offering free COVID-19 Tests to those who are showing relative symptoms, so that there is early detection of the virus as various different variants are still prevalent in Pakistan.

Aazar Ayaz of FINN Partners thanked the media for participating in the roundtable, in his closing remarks he said that this is going to help in disseminating knowledge and facts about clinical trials and will also create awareness among the media and through them in the general public about the importance of clinical trials.

Clinical studies are essential for identifying additional approaches to protect our communities against major health threats. The participation of thousands of people in clinical studies was a key factor in the safe and efficient development of vaccines and medicines, as studies strictly adhered to international research ethics protocols.

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