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Clinical trials & COVID-19

What are clinical trials?

Clinical trials are conducted so that researchers can learn better ways to prevent, screen for, diagnose, or treat diseases, such as chronic kidney failure and kidney cancer, and other health problems. Without them, we would not have new treatments or other advances in health and medicine.

Is now a good time to enroll in a clinical trial?

If you have not yet enrolled in a clinical trial, you should probably wait until the COVID-19 pandemic has come under control before signing up. Currently, study centers are working overtime to accommodate enrolled patients and maintain their current active status.

What should I do if I'm already enrolled in a clinical trial?

If you are already enrolled in a clinical trial, then you should contact your study site for instructions for visits, lab draws, and taking your study medicine. You should also let the study site know if you have experienced any new side effects and if you are taking any new medications.

Some study centers may want you to continue coming in for your visits and study drug refills, while others may be changing to virtual site visits and ship study drugs to you at home.

Is it safe to go to my study site for an appointment?

Health officials are recommending that people with underlying medical conditions such chronic kidney failure or other kidney diseases to not be in close physical contact with other people. If you can avoid using public transportation (eg, trains, subways, buses, and airplanes) you should try to do so. Check with your study site regarding your options – many sites are providing travel, lodging, and dining reimbursements so study participants can use private cars, cabs, and rideshare vehicles (eg, Uber and Lyft), stay overnight in a hotel, and eat meals when onsite study visits are required.

Questions to ask your study site

  1. Instead of coming into the site for study visits, can I do them virtually or by telephone?
  2. What happens if I am quarantined? Will I still be able to participate in the trial?
  3. If concerns about COVID-19 affect my ability to get to my study site, can I make alternate travel arrangements and be reimbursed? If so, who should I contact?
  4. Can I get my labs drawn at home?
  5. Can my study medication be sent to me?
  6. Is the study medication I am taking an immunosuppressant? If so, does that mean I am at increased risk for getting COVID-19? If the study medication is not an immunosuppressant, am I still at increased risk due to having an underlying medical condition?
  7. If I come onsite for a study visit, will you provide a face mask for me to wear?
  8. What disinfectant protocols are you following?
  9. Have there been any confirmed cases of people with COVID-19 at the study site? If so, can you give me some details?

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