[Accessed 26 Dec 2020]
A cost/benefit analysis of clinical trial designs for COVID-19 vaccine candidates
Donald A. Berry, Scott Berry, Peter Hale, Leah Isakov, Andrew W. Lo, Kien Wei Siah, Chi Heem Wong
Research Article | published 23 Dec 2020 PLOS ONE
We compare and contrast the expected duration and number of infections and deaths averted among several designs for clinical trials of COVID-19 vaccine candidates, including traditional and adaptive randomized clinical trials and human challenge trials. Using epidemiological models calibrated to the current pandemic, we simulate the time course of each clinical trial design for 756 unique combinations of parameters, allowing us to determine which trial design is most effective for a given scenario. A human challenge trial provides maximal net benefits—averting an additional 1.1M infections and 8,000 deaths in the U.S. compared to the next best clinical trial design—if its set-up time is short or the pandemic spreads slowly. In most of the other cases, an adaptive trial provides greater net benefits.