The British Royal Navy’s HMS Salisbury’s surgeon mate James Lind grasped that more British seamen were dying of scurvy in the English Channel than at the hands of French and Spanish seamen. It took a moment of consciousness for James Lind on 20th May 1747, to act on his hunch that citrus fruits may be the better cure for scurvy and to start acting on it. What created history was that James Lind went ahead to conduct what is now widely regarded as the world’s first double-blind clinical trial.
In recognition of Lind’s quest for scientifically proven knowledge, 20th May is celebrated as International Clinical Trials Day (ICTD).
Over almost 4 centuries from Lind’s watershed moment, the world has seen millions of clinical trials conducted. The nature, type, and conduct of trials have, quite naturally, undergone a sea of change and with every change, mankind has only benefited in some way. Whether it was the need for ethics and ethical review of trials prior to their conduct, assessing risk-benefit ratio, insisting that participation in trials be voluntary for subjects, and harmonization of standards for accepting clinical trial data submissions by different regulatory agencies, every little change has had an impact. In particular, the changes that we have seen since the late 1990s are extremely significant.
As the world looks towards clinical trials for COVID vaccines or a cure in the time of the worst pandemic, with both a magnifying glass and renewed hope, let us not forget that worldwide there are countless clinical trials ongoing in different therapeutic areas such as oncology, gene therapy, psychiatry, HIV-AIDS, orphan drugs, etc. – which are just as important as the vaccine trials. If not for well-planned and executed clinical studies, none of the life-saving drugs would be available today and humankind would still be unsure of the safety profile of any drug available in the pharmacy.
On the occasion of International Clinical Trials Day 2021, ClinTrek would like to acknowledge the contribution of all clinical research professionals across the globe.
More power to clinical trial professionals to enable people to have good health!