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BGU Med Student Develops Software to Accelerate COVID-19 Trials

BGU Med Student Develops Software to Accelerate COVID-19 Trials

April 24, 2020

Medical Research

The Jewish Press — As clinical trials trudge along in the global effort to find effective treatments for COVID-19, a student at BGU’s Medical School for International Health (MSIH) has developed a software program to make the process move a little faster.

Daniel Iluz-Freundlich is in his second year at MSIH and also serves as vice president of Refuah Solutions Ltd, based in Manitoba, Canada. He graduated with a gold medal in computer sciences from the University of Winnipeg in 2017.

Join the webinar, COVID-19: Working on the Front Lines, featuring Daniel and three MSIH alumni on May 27.

Daniel Iluz-Freundlich, MSIH Student

“There are three important phases in most clinical trials,” he explains. “Two of them — the treatment and follow-up phases — are well-defined in terms of knowing in advance how long they will last.”

But the third phase is the patient enrollment phase, and this phase is much less predictable.

“Investigators can never be certain how long it will take to identify enough suitable patients for their trial,” Iluz-Freundlich says.

“In fact, delays in patient enrollment account for 70 to 90 percent of trials failing to be completed on time and in the case of COVID-19, such delays can be fatal.”

When made aware of this important issue by his clinical investigator colleagues, Iluz-Freundlich and his team of Israeli programmers developed a software program for mobile devices that directly addresses that challenge.

The program, PI-Enroll™, accelerates patient enrollment by providing clinical investigators with fingertip access to the trial’s inclusion and exclusion criteria, selected study information and an innovative communication network that coordinates patient enrollment and other study-related activities.

In beta testing of the program, Iluz-Freundlich says one site with access to PI-Enroll enrolled “twice as many patients in one half the time required by the other study sites.”

Although originally developed for other medical conditions, with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic Iluz-Freundlich quickly modified the program by inserting a unique feature that enables laboratories to directly notify principal investigators and their study coordinators of positive COVID-19 results.

In addition, the program facilitates global communication between study sites that enable the various research teams to share new observations and approaches to resolving unanticipated challenges.

Due to the magnitude and severity of the COVID-19 pandemic, Iluz-Freundlich and Refuah Solutions Ltd have been donating the program to COVID-19 researchers around the world “in order to accelerate the completion of their respective trials and thereby identify effective treatments and contribute to tikkun olam (the Jewish concept of healing the world),” he says.

Read more in The Jewish Press >>

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