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More than 1,700 COVID-19 Clinical Trials Registered Worldwide

15 May 2020

  • The United States leads the way with more than 300 trials under way.
  • The majority of current clinical studies are focused on anti-malarial drugs, including hydroxychloroquine, which represent 20% of all studies.

These are the initial findings from Expert System’s Artificial Intelligence platform, Clinical Research Navigator (CRN), which is collecting biomedical research information from official reports and studies published worldwide.

Following the launch of its AI-based Clinical Research Navigator (CRN), which is focused on accelerating research on COVID-19, Expert System mined over 620,000 clinical trials, including more than 1,700 trials related to the virus that are taking place around the globe.

Clinical landscape is changing rapidly in the context of the current pandemic situation. It is therefore critical to have a global coverage of the trial registries to serve clinical experts with appropriate and effective means to conduct their research on the disease. Expert System analyzed data collected with its Artificial Intelligence CRN platform to gain some insight on key trends correlated to official reports and studies published worldwide.

The initial findings show that the largest number of studies (19%) so far have been conducted in the United States, with the majority of trials sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. France (16% of trials) is followed by Spain with 9% trials mainly conducted by the biopharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences that is also conducting trials in Italy (5% of trials under way) and Germany (4%). CRN identified trials also in China (6%) and the UK with 6% trials, including those conducted by the University of Oxford, University College London and Imperial College London. There are trials in progress also in Canada (3%) and Switzerland (1%).

Of the clinical trials related to COVID-19, most noteworthy are those aimed at determining the efficacy of drugs that can mitigate the progression of infection and reduce the risk of complications. From this point of view, the greatest number of clinical trials have focused thus far on antimalarial drugs, including hydroxychloroquine, which account for 20% of the total studies. These types of drugs block the entry of the virus into cells, slowing down its progression. In addition to their antiviral property, they are also studied for their immune-modulating activities.

Antivirals, such as the drug Remdesivir, represent 13% of studies. These drugs inhibit the replication of the virus gene, slowing down its spread and reducing the complications of the disease. This is followed by studies for anti-neoplastic and immuno-modulatory agents (10% of current studies), which attempt to modify the immune response caused by the virus, especially in patients who suffer from complications related to excessive inflammation.

Seven percent of studies are focused on antibiotics, such as azithromycin, while six percent of studies are focused on drugs with corticosteroids, which serve to modulate the immune and inflammatory response and the metabolic mechanisms for adapting to cellular and tissue stress. Four percent of studies are for anticoagulants and antiaggregants, which are used to prevent or treat thrombotic phenomena caused by SARS-CoV-2. Finally, 3% of studies are focused on the plasma of patients who have recovered from the virus, to study the potential of antibodies to neutralize the virus.

The biggest challenge: A vaccine

The platform has identified more than 30 active clinical trials related to a vaccine for the virus, which are conducted in the United Kingdom, China, the United States and other countries. This number will certainly increase in the coming weeks, when more studies from around the globe will be registered.

“The vast majority of studies were registered between March and April and, in recent weeks, the number of clinical trials has grown exponentially,” said Walt Mayo, Expert System Group CEO. “But beyond the numbers, data available in our AI-based platform is telling us that “saving lives now” is the top priority. There is a desperate hunt for a treatment worldwide, including a vaccine. Knowing that an effective treatment was available would allow our Governments to breathe a sigh of relief in saving citizens lives and relaxing lockdowns that are strangling our economies.”

Clinical Research Navigator (CRN)

The global Artificial Intelligence company Expert System joined the fight against COVID-19 by granting biomedical researchers worldwide free access to its AI-based Clinical Research Navigator (CRN) through July 1. CRN contains a structured, real-time data set of over 100 million documents and reference information on 12 million clinical researchers, providing research scientists with a single source to discover insights to drive their research. The platform minimizes daily burden for scientists by performing data aggregation, de-duplication, normalization and linking across multiple data sources. Thanks to a new partnership with The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), CRN mines the content of the world’s leading medical journal to deliver consistently structured clinical content to researchers. Several healthcare, biomedical organizations and researchers are already using CRN to search across a wide range of topics such as infections, drugs, mechanisms of action, organizations, experts, geographies and more.

Leveraging advanced natural language understanding capabilities, CRN recognizes related terms (such as “COVID 19, “Coronavirus” and “SARS-CoV-2”) and puts them in context to provide researchers with the most relevant and comprehensive results. Rich drill-down and filtering capabilities help researchers identify key clinical trials, sponsoring research facilities, lead researchers and related work, and even map key networks of collaborators.

To access the platform for free, click here to learn more about how to qualify as a group of researchers.


Disclaimer – The analysis by Expert System is not intended to provide scientific guidelines about diagnosis, treatments or preventions of any disease. While the data collected with our AI-based tool has been checked with a team of experts, the unique intent of our analysis is to offer some insight on the nature and number of published studies and registered clinical trials related to COVID-19 worldwide.