The Challenge of Conducting Clinical Research During a Pandemic

June 9, 2020

(Knowable Magazine) – The need is great, and so are the challenges. To learn about them, Knowable Magazine turned to Kathryn Edwards, a pediatrician and vaccine researcher at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee. Edwards has decades of experience conducting clinical vaccine trials. She served on a National Academy of Medicine committee to review the response to the 2014–16 West African Ebola outbreak and recommend improvements, and is now on several advisory committees for clinical trials during the Covid-19 pandemic. The coauthor of a 2020 overview of the ethics of clinical research during disease outbreaks in the Annual Review of Virology, Edwards discussed the complexity of conducting trials during such turbulent times. This conversation has been edited for length and clarity.