Clinical trials have been very much in the news of late due to the coronavirus pandemic and the rush to create a suitable vaccine, but there are still so many things that most of us don’t know about these very important parts of the healthcare process.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at a few interesting things you may not know about clinical trials.

1. Clinical trials are referenced in the bible

When we think of clinical trials, we tend to think of modern professionals like Dr. Dorian Wilkerson working hard in clinical labs. Wearing white coats and making use of the most amazing technology; we certainly don’t think about biblical times, However, the first reference to a clinical trial can actually be found in The Bible. Yes, really. 

As the story goes, King Nebuchadnezzar II told his subjects to only eat meat and drink wine as he thought they were the healthiest option. Many people disagreed and preferred to eat vegetarian, so the King enabled them to test out their theories for a 10-day trial period. Seeing they were healthier, he allowed them to continue with their own diet. This is a clinical trial at its most basic.

2. The first clinical trial conducted by a physician was in 1747

Dr. James Lind was the first doctor to actually carry out a clinical trial. He tested a number of scurvy treatments on the Salisbury naval ship’s crew and found lemons and oranges to be the best course of treatment.

6 Things You Didn't Know About Clinical Trials 1

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3. International Clinical Trials Day is May 20

It is celebrated on this date because this is the same date back in 1747 that Dr. Lind started his scurvy trial and made history.

4. More than 300 medicines approved this decade

In the past decade, more than 300 new medicines, including the various coronavirus vaccinations that have popped up in the past few months, have been approved for use for both physical and mental illnesses, proving that clinical trials are still an important part of modern healthcare and that new discoveries are always being made in the realm of medicine and human health. 

5. New Developments are Ongoing

The Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative has pledged to deliver between 16 and 18 brand new medical treatments by 2023, many of which are already available to patients, for ailments including sleeping sickness, pediatric HIV, and hepatitis C. It is advocating for greater availability of treatments on a global scale, and if it meets its aims, the world’s population will benefit greatly from its efforts.

6. The Placebo Effect is older than you might think

Did you know that clinical trials discovered that the placebo effect was a very real thing as far back as the 1800s? There are several mentions of the word ‘placebo’ in the medical literature from the time, and it was added to Hooper’s medical dictionary in 1811 where it was described as something that was “given to any medicine more to please than benefit the patient.” 

Who knew clinical trials could be so interesting?

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