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WCG IRB’s Response to COVID-19 in 2020: Supporting the Clinical Trial Industry When It Needed It the Most

The year 2020 presented an unexpected challenge when COVID-19 became a worldwide pandemic. As countries across the globe reeled from the impact of COVID-19, the clinical research industry found itself in a new era working to understand and navigate the impact and to quickly find a treatment.

During a time when the world needed it most, WCG IRB was there for its research partners from the day the pandemic hit: leading the way in expert perspectives, setting the pace for new best practices, and supporting the industry at every point in the journey.

We Were There from the Beginning

January 2020

We reviewed an Expanded Access request for remdesivir for an individual diagnosed with COVID-19 in the U.S.

March 6, 2020

WCG IRB announced a new program to facilitate IRB review of research protocols for COVID-19 vaccine and therapies, giving priority IRB review and waiving initial protocol review fees.

March 9, 2020

The first official clinical trial for a COVID-19 vaccine treatment came to WCG IRB, two days before the World Health Organization declared a global pandemic.

The Many Ways We Served Our Clients

Within the 530 COVID-19 studies WCG IRB oversaw throughout 2020, 2,664 new principal investigators were approved across North America. And when the U.S. federal government developed Operation Warp Speed last May, all
drug companies running those trials sent their protocols through WCG IRB’s doors for review.

Throughout the 530 studies WCG IRB oversaw, our dedication to clients and responsiveness never wavered. In fact, submission volumes increased without a decline in turnaround time or quality.

And we continued our unwavering commitment to quality reviews when submissions volumes were at a record high, including overseeing more than 11,000 COVID-19-related changes in research.

Supporting a Global Response

WCG IRB translated approximately 5,000 COVID-19-related documents in more than 30 languages, including Spanish, Vietnamese, Russian, Korean, Canton, Mandarin, Arabic, Haitian, Puerto Rican Spanish, Portuguese, French, Simplified Chinese, Hmong, Farsi, Brazilian Portuguese, Polish, Tagalog, Bengali, Romanian, Japanese, Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu, German, Thai, Bosnian, Creole, Burmese, Turkish, Hungarian, Greek, Swahili, and Serbian.

IBC Services

But the reviews didn’t stop with our IRB teams. When scientific breakthroughs for COVID-19 were occurring, such as mRNA-based vaccine platforms, our expert team of gene therapy advisors stepped up and:

  • Established more than 122 new IBCs, for a total of 455 active IBCs now managed by our internal team.
  • Conducted more than 590 IBC meetings while managing 700 IBC members across those committees.

Our Dedicated Team

None of this could have been accomplished without the extraordinary work of more than 50 operation team members, subject matter experts, and board members who worked around the clock to:

  • Conduct board meetings on Saturdays and Sundays, in addition to every other day of the week.
  • Communicate with clients via email, phone calls, and text messages.
  • Leverage a set of dedicated personnel resources – even at the executive level – to provide a daily touch base with clients that ensured visibility and transparency on where submissions were in the review process.

Looking Forward

And now, when the world faces tremendous momentum to overcoming the pandemic, WCG IRB continues to provide this same dedication of customer service. In fact, we’re already working across dozens of other COVID-19 studies, and we’re implementing these processes and procedures across other therapeutic areas and indications for every trial.

We can apply this level of rigor and collaboration to your current or upcoming trial. Contact WCG IRB today to find out how we can support you.

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