Local doctor isn’t worried after multiple COVID-19 trials paused

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A third clinical trial that focused on COVID-19 was put on hold.

Eli Lilly announced they stopped their study due to safety reasons.

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Dr. Scott Strome, a research doctor, believed people shouldn’t be concerned about this because it shows companies care about the process.

“In an ideal world with drug development it would be great if everything were perfect but I can tell you it never is it never is,” said Strome.

Strome knows this from his experience working on five clinical trials.

Strome is the dean at the College of Medicine at UTHSC.

He said he’s not surprised that three COVID-19 trials are on hold like the Eli Lilly trial testing an antibody.

“I actually think that people should find this reassuring paradoxically because what it means is despite all this talk about politics and vaccines and everything like that the governing agencies are doing their jobs,” Strome said.

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Monday, Johnson and Johnson paused its vaccine trial because a volunteer became sick with an unexplained illness.

A month before, another company stopped its vaccine trial as well.

Strome explained when trials like this are put on hold, the Data Safety Monitoring Board reviews what happened.

He said the companies are required to notify the FDA if its serious enough, then both the company and the FDA must agree on if the drug or vaccine caused the issue during the trial.

“They are calling things out when they are worried, stopping trials when worried and taking a very cautious approach,” Strome said.

He emphasized people should not worry about this.

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The doctor believed researchers will find a solution, one that is safe and can help people during the pandemic.

“You want to get it right and also want to make sure when a vaccine comes out people are comfortable with what it does with the risk of that people understand what they are taking,” he said.

Strome also pointed out that every drug won’t be perfect.

As an example, he used cancer treatment because there are severe side effects but it still can help patients.

The doctor emphasized that sometimes you have to figure out if the benefit is greater than the risk.

That could be happening now during the clinical trials.