Issue 21 Understanding Science

Clinical Trials – Part Three: Vaccines in Clinical Trials

“Our primary mission is life critical. Our goal is very clear: to address the gross inequities in child health still existing in the world today. Life or death for a young child too often depends on whether he is born in a country where vaccines are available or not.”

Nelson Mandela, addressing the Vaccine Fund Board 2003 meeting in Johannesburg

The last topic in the series on medical research and clinical trials is related to studies on vaccines and, what better example to explain vaccines research than the recent Covid-19 pandemic. Similar to pharmaceutical products, vaccines trials occur in 3-4 phases (Phase I-III pre-marketing authorization and Phase IV after the vaccine is licensed).

Issue 19 Understanding Science

Clinical Trials – Part Two: Clinical Trials

What is a clinical trial and how (why) does it work?

A clinical trial is a study conducted on human volunteers to investigate a variety of questions on a treatment/intervention tested:

  • is the treatment/intervention safe?
  • does the treatment/intervention work?
  • does the treatment/intervention work better than what is already available (if there is a similar treatment/intervention)?
Issue 18 Understanding Science

Clinical Trials – Part One: Medical Research

There are no such things as incurable, there are only things for which man has not found a cure.”

Bernard Baruch, 30 April 1954

What is medical research?

Medical (biomedical) research, sometimes referred to as experimental medicine, comprises different types of research, from basic, to clinical, applied research. Different scientific fields are usually included and range from biology, medicine, physics, computational science, mathematics, chemistry, and pharmacology. The overarching intention of such research is to improve human health and well-being.