Impact of the COVID-19 Epidemic on a Pan-Asian Academic Oncology Clinical Trial
On January 30, 2020, the WHO declared a public health emergency of international concern for COVID19, an epidemic novel strain of coronavirus that first infected humans in Wuhan, China.1 Over the following days and weeks, governments in China and across Asia started to implement drastic public health control measures, and Western countries began reporting patients as well.2 Measures have included quarantine, travel restrictions, social distancing (such as closing schools and banning mass gatherings), and personal hygiene measures, including wearing masks, implementing hospital infection control, and use of the International Health Regulations.3 To our knowledge, the impact of the epidemic on the running of clinical trials has not been reported to date. We describe the consequences of the COVID-19 epidemic, based on our experience with the ASCOLT trial (ClinicalTrials. gov identifier: NCT00565708), an academic phase III study open in 41 sites across 9 Asian countries and regions (mainland China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, and Taiwan).
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