DIA Therapeutic Innovation & Regulatory Science Publication:
Data Monitoring for the Chinese Clinical Trials of Remdesivir
in Treating Patients with COVID‑19 During the Pandemic Crisis
Weichung J. Shih · Chen Yao · Tai Xie
Two phase-III, double-blind, randomized clinical trials of remdesivir plus SOC (standard of care) versus placebo plus SOC have been conducted in Wuhan hospitals by Chinese investigators during the urgent COVID-19 epidemic [ClincalTrials.gov NCT04257656 and NCT04252664]. These trials have been highly anticipated worldwide. We expect investigators of the trials will soon report the clinical and laboratory findings from the medical perspective. This manuscript provides documentary style information on the process of monitoring key data and making recommendations to the sponsor and investigators based on analytical insights when dealing with the emergent situation from the statistical viewpoint. Having monitored data sequentially from 237 patients, we comment on the strength and weakness of the study design and suggest the treatment effect of remdesivir on severe COVID-19 cases. Our experience with using the Dynamic Data Monitoring (DDM) tool has demonstrated its efficiency and reliability in supporting DSMB’s instantaneous review of essential data during the emergent situation. DDM, when used properly by disciplined statisticians, has shown its capability of exploring the trial data flexibly and, in the meantime, protecting the trial’s scientific integrity.