Respiratory disease trials affected due to Covid related NPIs
Respiratory disease trials are profoundly affected by non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) against COVID-19 because they perturb existing regular patterns of all seasonal viral epidemics. A new study, addressing trial design with such uncertainty, explored the impact of reduced viral transmission (mimicking NPIs) using a virtual population and in silico trials for the bacterial lysate OM-85 as prophylaxis for RTI. Ratio-based efficacy metrics are only impacted under strict lockdown whereas absolute benefit already is with intermediate NPIs (eg. mask-wearing). Consequently, despite NPI, trials may meet their relative efficacy endpoints (provided recruitment hurdles can be overcome) but are difficult to assess with respect to clinical relevance.