Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings, or LabCorp, is one of the two largest clinical diagnostic laboratory companies in the U.S. The company announced its Covance drug development business was launching COVID-19 Clinical Trial Connect in the U.S. to help people find information on taking part in clinical trials related to COVID-19.
The site specifically notes five categories of potential participation: if you have been exposed to a confirmed case of COVID-19; if you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms; if you have been diagnosed with COVID-19; if you have recovered from a confirmed case of COVID-19 infection; and if you are healthy or have interest in vaccine research studies.
“Our goal is to link people interested in these clinical trials with sponsors so that together we may find solutions for this global pandemic,” said Michael Brooks, Covance’s president of Clinical Development and Commercialization Solutions.
The Clinical Trial Connect site can notify potential trial participants of studies run by Covance for the drug industry, as well as studies included in clinicaltrials.gov, the government’s database of privately and publicly funded clinical studies. If patients are interested, they can register on the site.
“With our COVID-19 Clinical Trial Connect, we’re helping bridge the gap,” Brooks added. “Patients who choose to participate in a clinical trial are true medical heroes. We are thrilled to have the capacity to directly engage with patients who would not otherwise be aware of ongoing trials and give them the opportunity to consider participation, particularly at this time.”
LabCorp has more than 65,000 employees and rakes in about $11.5 billion annually. Covance is a global contract research organization (CRO).
LabCorp also announced that it is partnering with digital clinical trial software maker Medable to allow clinical trial participants to engage with trials remotely. This is expected to help with remote data collection, patient engagement and easier app access for trials.
Business Insider noted, “Covance is one of the largest CRO’s globally—and its increased focus on digital trials could be significant in helping LabCorp reduce participant churn amid the pandemic. Social distancing recommendations resulting from the coronavirus pandemic have placed a number of clinical trials on pause—which is leading to participant attrition.”
The adoption of digital access and remote approaches to clinical trials is picking up steam. In early June 2019, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a draft guidance on improving the diversity of patient populations in clinical trials. The biggest focus was on getting sponsor companies to include more historically underserved populations in trials, including women, the elderly and minorities. Part of the 18-page guidance included recommendations on remote access.
The guidance stated: “Reduce the frequency of study visits to those needed to appropriately monitor safety and efficacy and consider whether flexibility in visit windows is possible and whether electronic communication (e.g., telephone/mobile telephone, secured electronic mail, social media platforms) or mobile technology tools can be used to replace site visits and provide investigators with real-time data.”
LabCorp, and its biggest competitor, Quest Diagnostics, announced return-to-work services for employers recently. On May 14, LabCorp indicated it would offer staffers check-in health questionnaires, temperature screens and on-site and off-site COVID-19 test collection.
Quest, on May 27, announced on-site temperature checks, respiratory and blood specimen collection, online questionnaires, access to telemedicine services, contract tracing and other services. Quest also said that because “some jobs are higher risk than others,” it will prioritize testing for organizations that employ healthcare workers, first responders and other companies that play a critical role in pandemic response.