Knowledge, attitude, and perception of public about participation in COVID-19 clinical trials: A study from Egypt and Saudi Arabia

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Abstract

Background
Pharmaceutical firms are striving to find potential treatments to prevent and treat COVID-19. One of the gold standards to evaluate treatment is a clinical trial; however, the difficulty in patient recruitment could act as a determinant. It is evident from the registry data that very few studies have been conducted involving the population of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

Aim
To document knowledge, perception, and attitude of the public from Two large countries in the MENA region (Egypt and Saudi Arabia) towards participation in clinical trials focused on evaluating potential COVID-19 treatments.

Method
A cross-sectional study was conducted that used a snowball sampling strategy for recruitment. General population 18 years old or older, who lived in Saudi Arabia or Egypt were invited. The survey was adopted from literature and was approved by an ethics committee.

Results
Out of 800 participants in the survey, 407 participants were from Egypt, and 393 were from Saudi Arabia. Most participants (48%) had moderate knowledge, i.e., >60% <80%. The results revealed poor attitude (88.5%) and poor perceptions (45.8%) regarding participation in COVID-19 clinical trials. Education and residence were identified as determinants of participants’ knowledge, attitude, and perceptions. Participants' knowledge and understanding of COVID-19 trials did not impact their willingness to participate. This coupled with a poor attitude and perception among the masses drastically affects any potential for participation in future clinical trials.

Conclusion
A relatively small proportion of participants were interested in enrolling in COVID-19 studies. Increased collective engagement through social media and healthcare professionals can help improve attitudes and perceptions toward trial participation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)283-290
Number of pages8
JournalSaudi Pharmaceutical Journal
Volume30
Issue number3
Early online date19 Jan 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 Mar 2022

Keywords

  • Knowledge
  • Public opinion
  • Perception
  • COVID-19
  • Patient participation

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