COVID-19 & long COVID

Patient recruitment

COVID-19 has dominated the world of clinical research during the last 2 years and, despite higher vaccination rates, experts increasingly predict that COVID-19 is here to stay

Our patient-centric digital recruitment approach supports your COVID-19 and related clinical trials, as well as addresses challenges COVID-19 may pose to your other trials. While some countries are gradually returning to normal due to vaccination campaigns, new drugs and treatments are still needed as many researchers expect new variants of COVID-19 to develop. Additionally, more patients are exhibiting symptoms of long COVID (also known as post-COVID-19 syndrome), requiring further research and treatments.

With the development of new vaccines and booster shots, as well as work on various treatments (such as antivirals, cell & gene therapies, immunomodulators, and neutralizing antibodies), clinical trials need a robust patient recruitment strategy.

Having supported several large clinical trials with global outreach, as well as smaller local studies, we have the experience and know-how to support your clinical trials on COVID-19 and long COVID.

Find out how we can support your COVID-19 and related studies now. 

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We support your clinical trials affected by the COVID-19 pandemic

Approximately 80% of non-COVID-19 trials were stopped or interrupted during the pandemic. Prospective patients were unable or reluctant to visit physical research sites, while some sites paused ongoing trials as capabilities were shifted to critical care resources. Gain access to our global patient insight survey data on patients from multiple therapeutic areas to better understand how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting clinical trials.

Currently, all of our services are fully operational across the globe, with patient engagement and site managers on the ground and active in 50+ countries.

We are here to help you quickly adapt your critical trials – get support for your trials affected by the pandemic here.

Our targeting techniques

We have four ways of reaching potential participants for your COVID-19 clinical trials. We understand that no two trials are the same and always design a recruitment approach based on the specific requirements of your study.

Demographic targeting

Age, social media behavior and profile, and other demographic indicators are used as filters to find participants that are most likely to match your COVID-19 trials and less likely to drop-out.

Location & capacity targeting

People living within a predesignated radius around active sites are targeted with ads that are activated and deactivated based on site referral volume.

Interest-based targeting

By continuously analyzing the (anonymized) behavior of those successfully enrolled, we understand potential participants for your clinical trial. We also filter our marketing outreach based on interests, social media activity, and groups.

Database & behavioral targeting

We send study notifications to our large database (>1.3 million registered users worldwide, including healthy volunteers) based on their location and details.

Find patients aligned to your protocol

Our Chief Medical Officer reviews your protocol and aligns it with our patient recruitment team’s objectives and tactics. This ensures that people referred to your research center fit the specific requirements of your COVID-19 study.

Our medical team then creates the dedicated study and indication pages, pre-screeners, and develops a script for a secondary telephone screener. This ensures that any patients who successfully complete the online pre-screener actually qualify for your study’s protocol requirements.

We also provide patient-friendly content that explains clinical trials, regulations, safety measures, and your trial’s processes during the study. This helps ensure that patients who are ultimately randomized, are also less likely to drop out during the trial.

We understand that no two COVID-19 studies are the same

In early 2021, there were >1,000 clinical trials for COVID-19 actively enrolling participants. This means that finding patients for your trial is highly competitive. Additionally, making it even more challenging, some protocols have very narrow windows for patient enrollment (e.g., <48 hours after symptom onset), require not-yet-vaccinated people, or those who are unfortunately in the ICU.

To support your patient recruitment, we customize and align all materials to your target audience, from social advert creatives to screeners and site services. We understand the impacts of local culture, languages, and participation willingness. With this knowledge, we adapt our approach to ensure we refer patients that meet your protocol’s requirements.

Addressing patient diversity in COVID-19 clinical trials 

Minorities are underrepresented in all clinical trials, including many vaccine trials. The pandemic also further amplified socioeconomic disparities and made it more difficult to reach diverse patient populations, requiring stakeholders to further rethink and redesign the coordination of clinical trials.  Over the past year, researchers, society, and policymakers have increasingly focused on including ethnic minorities in clinical trials for COVID-19 vaccines. We know how to successfully reach out to minorities by dispelling misconceptions and building trust.

Informed by our Patient Insights, our patient recruitment and retention services allow us to reach a more diverse patient population. We use digital tools and multiple communication channels to reduce physical barriers to site access, create patient-friendly study materials to increase health literacy, and tailor strategies to local communities and cultures.

By understanding patient needs, we can overcome the unique barriers these patients face when joining, as well as participating, in clinical trials.

Global trials and leveraging decentralized solutions

With decentralized clinical trials (DCT) gradually on the rise in the last half-decade, COVID-19 has now accelerated the adoption of DCTs and hybrid trials. However, even though telemedicine and mobile healthcare providers have been used in healthcare services, the strategic concept of building a clinical trial around decentralization is still somewhat novel. This is partially due to regulatory uncertainty and a lack of clarity over what a DCT is and what it encompasses.

Still, during the pandemic, the benefits of DCTs became more apparent, allowing patients to continue study participation remotely while reducing site burden. Embracing new DCT solutions can help your clinical trial stay on track and reduce patient drop-out.

Having supported COVID-19 trials, as well as DCT and hybrid trials, we can help you adopt new approaches and transform your trial by navigating regulatory changes, creating study materials for patients and caregivers to better understand new technologies, and providing intensified support to sites to reduce site burden.

Let us apply our experience directly to your study.

Are you designing a new COVID-19 or related study, or have one underway?

We can help you find the right patients, at the right time. To find out more, contact us.