The COVID-19 pandemic is having a huge impact on many industries, and medical research is no exception. T1D researchers are facing challenging obstacles with the closure of workplaces, government restrictions around social distancing, and potential unavailability of clinical staff due to other priorities.
But while research may be disrupted, our mission to create a world without type 1 diabetes does not stop. JDRF is working hard to overcome the challenges of the current environment and ensure that T1D research can continue, in a way that prioritises the safety of researchers and research participants.
Below, we’ve answered some of the most frequently asked questions about how research has been affected by COVID-19. We’ll update this page with new information as it becomes available. If you have any more questions, please get in touch.
Is research for T1D still being carried out?
Yes, we are working hard with our researchers to ensure that their vital research to cure, treat and prevent T1D does not stop. Most research projects have been impacted in some way by the COVID-19 pandemic. Some projects are continuing as planned with little disruption, while others are making changes that allow them to continue in a reduced capacity.
In all cases, JDRF is working with research teams to understand their individual situations and develop solutions that will allow their research to continue.
What about clinical trials? Are they still seeing participants?
Many clinical trials have changed their processes to ensure that they can continue to operate, while prioritising participant safety and complying with social distancing guidelines. These changes are evolving all the time as circumstances change, but currently include:
· Conducting visits over the phone rather than in person
· Assisting patients to collect their own samples or data, e.g. for trials involving saliva samples or CGM readings
· Sending out questionnaires for participants to fill in
· Monitoring all participants with regular check-ins via phone or video.
Some clinical trial sites are open and still conducting in-person appointments. In this case, new measures have been implemented to ensure the safety of trial participants. These measures are in line with current government advice around hygiene and social distancing, as well as individual hospital and institute guidelines.
Can I still take part in a clinical trial?
Yes, there are still clinical trials that are looking for participants. However, it’s best to discuss your individual situation with a health professional or member of the clinical trial team.
Do you have any information on the status of specific trials?
To find out more about the changes that specific studies are making, you should contact the trial team directly. You can find contact details for a number of Australian T1D clinical trials through JDRF’s Trial Finder.