Research collaboration drives to accelerate COVID-19 solutions

By Jenni Spinner contact

- Last updated on GMT

(Image: Getty/ma_rish)
(Image: Getty/ma_rish)

Related tags: COVID-19, Coronavirus, Medable, Clinical research

Led by Medable, the multi-company effort is geared toward ramping up development of treatments, diagnostics and other solutions for the pandemic-causing virus.

The American COVID-19 Collaborative Enabling Seamless Science (ACCESS) initiative involves numerous trial-focused companies contributing in hopes of accelerating therapies and tests. Its main mission is giving stakeholders fast access to take part in emerging research for diagnostics, health monitoring and clinical trials.

At the center of the initiative is mobile consumer-facing application, and secure infrastructure designed to quickly connect researchers and trial teams with millions of US residents in their homes.

Research teamwork

ACCESS activity is led by Medable. Participants include several technology, healthcare and life-sciences companies, including BioIntelliSense, Datavant, Parexel, PWNHealth and the American Heart Association’s Center for Health Technology and Innovation.

Ingrid Oakley-Girvan, senior vice president of research and strategy for Medable, told Outsourcing-Pharma that Medable has worked with the other ACCESS collaborators on past clinical research projects.

Medable has worked with the organizations in this collaborative on various clinical research endeavors. During our early formation of ACCESS, these partners expressed interest immediately. As early adopters, they are in alignment with our goals and are a great foundation of the ACCESS ecosystem of partners​,” she said.

ACCESS is set up to facilitate a patient’s ability to contribute detailed information about their personal experience with the virus, combined with health records and wearables data; they also can opt in to participate in current and future studies. The data they provide can be rapidly and anonymously matched to research studies, so researchers can draw from a foundation of framework for more dynamic research.

The research initiative involves various mobile and digital health technologies to facilitate at-home research, clinical trial access, and population-based long-term outcome studies. Components include wearable sensors, patient-reported data and outcomes, historical health data and health record aggregation.

Patient centricity

Oakley-Girvan told us ACCESS participants will be recruited in different ways:

  • Through referrals from physicians and other healthcare professionals.
  • Through social media campaigns and advertisements placed in media outlets, social networking platforms, websites, and in public spaces.
  • Individuals who have been previously consented can be re-contacted from prior studies.
  • Through data providers and partners including those within Datavant’s ecosystem, such as Komodo, Quest, and many more.

As of Friday, April 24, there were more than 100 downloads of the new app, and 33 consents.

The initiative seeks to make its activities patient-centric. Participants opt in at every stage, so they can maintain control over their personal health data, and also decide how they want to engage in future research and studies.

“ACCESS will enable us all to accelerate diagnostic testing and clinical trials—and advance important monitoring and immunity research—so that we can conquer COVID-19 with effective prevention and intervention strategies​,” said Michelle Longmire, CEO and co-founder of Medable, which built the mobile application and digital infrastructure for ACCESS.

By empowering people in their homes with ACCESS, we can accelerate research by reducing time for enrollment and data collection​,” she added.

Research data

Travis May, CEO of Datavant, said access to de-identified health records, claims, diagnostic and other data sources via his company’s data infrastructure will help further the mission of finding COVID-19 treatments faster.

Accelerating the pace of clinical development will help patients get access to life-saving therapies more quickly​,” he said.

ACCESS is intended to clear bottlenecks in research, making it easier for trial teams to recruit and monitor patients. Jason Martin, senior vice president of global data operations for Paraxel said to date, the industry has been quick to respond to the challenge.

We have seen a rapid response from the pharmaceutical industry to the COVID-19 crisis, with hundreds of clinical trials underway in a remarkably short period of time​,” he said. “The next challenge is connecting patients to these studies, which is particularly difficult in this fast-changing situation.”

Oakley-Girvan said ACCESS participants realize the important contribution that patients make to the industry, which is why the initiative is centered on them.

Without participants, clinical trials and research would not be possible​,” she said. “Our objective is to remove typical burdens that prohibit the public from easily engaging in clinical trials while making it simple to access relevant studies quickly​.”

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