An international group of pharmacological societies has issued a statement calling for pharmacological expertise to be factored in as an essential for the safe translation of promising COVID-19 treatments from the lab bench to clinical practice.
The Australasian Society of Clinical and Experimental Pharmacologists and Toxicologists and British Pharmacological Society have published a joint statement calling on researchers to apply clinical pharmacology principles in the search for safe treatments for COVID-19.
The statement was published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology and endorsed by international organisations* across the world.
Experts from the University of Sydney and Monash University have led the global effort in Australia.
Currently more than 1000 clinical trials were under way related to the treatment of COVID-19 infections.
The statement welcomes international efforts to safely expedite clinical trials in the search for a treatment. However, it cautions that many studies do not include the information that is needed to safely translate a promising treatment from research to clinical practice.
The aim of this statement is to provide benchmark recommendations, organised under five major principles to help guide researchers who are publishing results, reporting results or developing clinical trials for potential COVID-19 treatments.
Dr Danijela Gnjidic, from the School of Pharmacy, University of Sydney and President of the Australasian Society of Clinical and Experimental Pharmacologists and Toxicologists, was one of the co-authors.
“The international clinical pharmacology community has much expertise to offer the COVID-19 effort. Clinical pharmacologists are experts in the development and use of medicines: the principles we use can help establish not just whether a drug will work but crucially, whether it will be safe,” Dr Gnjidic said.
“We hope that the principles outlined in this statement will help funders, researchers, media and policy makers navigate the known challenges of drug discovery and development.”
We hope that the principles outlined in this statement will help funders, researchers, media and policy makers navigate the known challenges of drug discovery and development
Professor Sir Munir Pirmohamed, President of the British Pharmacological Society at the University of Liverpool and one of the co-authors of the statement, said:
“This statement sets out principles that will ultimately help develop drugs that can be used for the treatment of COVID-19.”
“It is all very well if a treatment works in vitro – but if it cannot reach effective doses in the lung or other target organs, or if it is toxic, it will fail. Similarly, treatment with an antiviral only for a patient with severe disease as a consequence of a ‘cytokine storm’ may not be sufficient. We hope that this advice will help researchers embed clinical pharmacology principles at all stages of research, to help identify the right dose, for the right patient, at the right time.”
*List of endorsing organisations: