Clinical Trials For Shingles Treatment

Shingles is a virus that affects many people across the world each year and anyone that has previously had chickenpox is effectively a potential shingles patient. After a person has suffered from chickenpox they are left the herpes varicella-zoster virus (the virus which causes chickenpox) in their sensory nervous system. Shingles, (which is a virus affecting the nerve and the surrounding area of skin) is caused by a reactivation of the herpes varicella-zoster virus.

Shingles will generally last between two and four weeks and during this time a person will suffer from varying degrees of pain combined with the itchiness and irritation caused by the rash. There is no cure for shingles and sufferers must rely on a range of treatments to help reduce the severity of the virus and ease the pain. Doctors and medical scientists are constantly introducing new ways to help shingles sufferers and clinical trials for shingles treatment are helping to do this.

What are clinical trials?

Clinical trials for shingles treatment are helping to push the boundaries of what can be done to prevent and help a condition which affects thousands of people each year in the UK.

A clinical trial is the testing of a drug or medical device in the latter stages of development; before any treatment is tested on a human, numerous laboratory studies and tests will have been carried out on specially grown cells or animals. Trials are organised and funded by various different organisations including the NHS, drug institutes, charities and government organisations. Before a drug is able to be tested on a human approval must be sought from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). The MHRA are the regulatory authority and will ensure that all drugs and medical device are deemed worthy of human testing.

The organisation carrying out the clinical trials for shingles treatment will then be required to draw up a protocol which will need to be approved by an ethics committee, the protocol must also meet the standards set by the European Union Clinical Trials Directive. The protocol will need to include information on:

  • How many people will take part in the trial
  • Who will take part in the trial
  • What questions aim to be answered by the trial
  • What treatments will be compared
  • How will the treatments be compared
  • How will the results be collected


Volunteering for a clinical trial

There are hundreds of clinical trials carried out each year by various organisations and volunteers are constantly needed to take part in clinical trials for shingles treatment. As a volunteer you will be paid a sum of money for taking part, the amount will differ depending on the trial. You will also be paid money for travel and will be fully looked after by staff at the trial centre.

Anyone that is fit and healthy and over the age of 18 is eligible to take part in the trials, a number of organisations in the UK are always on the lookout for volunteers, including:

  • Covance
  • NHS
  • World Health Organisation
  • Parexel




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