A snapshot of U.S. IRB review of COVID-19 research in the early pandemic. Journal Article

Authors: Taylor, HA; Serpico, K; Lynch, HF; Baumann, J; Anderson, EE
Article Title: A snapshot of U.S. IRB review of COVID-19 research in the early pandemic.
Abstract: Background/Objective: Along with the greater research enterprise, Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) had to quickly adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic. IRBs had to review and oversee COVID-related research, while navigating strict public health measures and a workforce largely relegated to working from home. Our objectives were to measure adjustments to standard IRB review processes, IRB turnaround time and document and any novel ethical issues encountered. Methods: Structured data requests were sent to members of the Consortium to Advance Effective Research Ethics Oversight directing Human Research Protection Programs (HRPP). Results: Fourteen of the 32 HRPP director members responded to a questionnaire about their approach to review and oversight during COVID-19. Eleven of the 14 provided summary data on COVID-19-specific protocols and six of the 11 provided protocol-related documents for our review. All respondents adopted at least one additional COVID-19-specific step to their usual review process. The average turnaround time for convened and expedited IRB reviews was 15 calendar days. In our review of the documents from 194 COVID-19-specific protocols ( = 302 documents), we identified only a single review that raised ethical concerns unique to COVID-19. Conclusions: Our data provide a snapshot of how HRPPs approached the review of COVID-19-specific protocols at the start of the pandemic in the USA. While not generalizable to all HRPPs, these data indicate that HRPPs can adapt and respond quickly response to a pandemic and likely need little novel expertise in the review and oversight of COVID-19-specific protocols.
Journal Title: Journal of clinical and translational science
Publisher: Unknown  
Date Published: 2021
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