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COVID-19 Has Delayed My Dry AMD Clinical Trial

As some of you may recall, I am in a clinical trial with a medication that is supposed to slow the rate of progression of my vision loss. At least I think I am still in a trial.

Weighing the risk of COVID-19

Last month I contacted my “handler” and said something about not wanting to be the COVID-19 version of Typhoid Mary for my county. At that time we did not have any cases of the virus in the area. Philadelphia, where the medical personnel doing the research came from, was rapidly becoming a hotbed for the disease.

A delay in my clinical trial

I was reassured a number of subjects were opting out and I could skip the month. I did not want to do it but with the chance of bringing the virus back to the area, I did not want to risk it.

More on this topic

A week or so ago I texted to ask what was happening with the study. The pandemic had intensified. Not only Philadelphia County, where the researchers came from, but also Lehigh County where I have been going for the trial, were lousy with the virus. The text I got back said that my “handler” had been furloughed and the study was on hiatus. Alrighty then. Now what?

An obstacle on the road to dry AMD treatment

While it makes sense to do so, shutting down medical research during the pandemic is frustrating for me. I really want to help bring this drug to market. I would like to be able to say I played my small part in creating the first, proven treatment for dry AMD. It would also be nice to have the progression of my own disease slowed.

Medical research stopped in the UK

It is not just in vision research that things have come to a rather sudden stop. All over the world medical research in anything not COVID-19 related had the brakes thrown. On March 27, 2020 Barry Adams wrote a piece for FierceBioTech. Adams reported the United Kingdom was shutting down its main, biomedical research facility in the face of the pandemic. It was decided that all medical research would be “paused” so that the resources and manpower could be directed towards fighting the immediate threat. The “complete focus” of the research organization was to be on eradicating COVID-19.1

Medical research delayed in Australia

Not only has this happened in the United Kingdom, but a similar situation is also happening in Australia. While I did not find an article saying all medical research is presently stopped there until further notice, the wheels still appear to be grinding to a halt.

In a memo dated April 1, 2020, The Australian Government Department of Health announced that Medical Research Future Fund Grants we’re being delayed. The memo went on to acknowledge researchers would experience delays in their ability to have applications reviewed and to undertake research itself.2

University research shut down

And stateside Arizona’s State University is also reporting changes. All non-critical research was shut down early in April 2020.3

Hopeful for dry AMD treatment

Once again it appears we have gone two steps forward and one step back, just when the research starts looking promising, something comes along to delay us on the road to treatment.

But note the word I used was delay, not prevent. We will get back on track. A treatment is on the way.

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