How Australia wasted $ 44 MILLION on coronavirus drug trials by competing many trials instead of merging them into one trial
- Medical Research Future Fund has disbursed $ 44 million in Covid-19 grants for trials
- More than 30 studies received grants from the group and philanthropist
- Although many studies failed to recruit the intended target of participants
- Researchers claim it was because there were too many trials and fewer recruits
Numerous studies of coronavirus treatment have been doomed from the outset and have uncovered no new evidence despite $ 44 million in government funding, researchers say.
The Medical Research Future Fund has provided the COVID-19 grants to more than 30 studies across Australia.
The data from the studies was designed to support the treatment guidelines of the National COVID-19 Evidence Task Force, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.
But a large number of the studies did not provide the necessary participants, while some only recruited one person.
Numerous studies of coronavirus treatment have been doomed from the start and have uncovered no new evidence, despite $ 44 million in government funding, researchers say (stock image)
The Department of Defense, which conducted studies on the antimalarial drug chloroquine, was awarded $ 13.5 million (stock image)
Among the investigations was a Department of Defense investigation into the antimalarial drug chloroquine, for which they received $ 13.5 million.
The trial recruited just 41 people before it was discontinued after other studies around the world found the drug to be ineffective.
At least five other local trials were dedicated to studying the same drug, and some received up to $ 3 million in funding.
The ASCOT study, which hoped to reduce mortality and the need for mechanical ventilation in the hospital, received $ 5 million in COVID-19 grants and donations.
But the study recruited only 33 of the required 2,500 people.
A $ 1.2 million trial with bacterial supplement OM85 had only 46 of the target 1,000 study participants, while a $ 170,000 trial with a therapeutic drug had only one recruit.
ASCOT researcher David Paterson said there were too many studies going on at the same time.
“There is no doubt that there are too many clinical trials with COVID underway in Australia,” said Paterson.
“That has weakened our potential impact and has meant that none of them have been able to produce definitive results.”
Jennifer Martin, chair of the University of Newcastle, professor of clinical pharmacology, said the studies had not kept their promises
The data from the studies would have been added to the National Covid-19 Evidence Taskforce’s treatment guidelines (photo, CSL staff, who have begun production of AstraZeneca-Oxford University Covid-19 vaccines)
Another problem that hospitals often had was that many patients were in different studies.
Researchers say there would have been more results if the number of studies had been greatly reduced.
Jennifer Martin, chair of the University of Newcastle, professor of clinical pharmacology, said the studies had failed to deliver on their promises.
“We still don’t have a therapeutic agent to treat people with, even though we have the best researchers in the country and many resources.”
A successful trial was the REMAP-CAP, which studied a number of drugs to treat COVID-19.
Although it had only recruited 20 participants in Australia and researchers had to look at data from abroad to finally get results.