The COVID-19 pandemic is having a profound impact on the lives and day to day activities of millions of people in the United States. Many states have decided to take drastic measures to mitigate the spread of the potentially deadly disease, such as closing public schools, bars, and gyms, and banning large gatherings. But it seems the ongoing pandemic is also affecting the ability of biotech companies to conduct clinical trials safely.

Proventio Bio (PRVB) -- a clinical-stage biotech company headquartered in New Jersey that focuses on the development of treatment for autoimmune diseases -- recently announced that it was pausing a phase 3 clinical trial. The trial in question investigated the efficacy of PRV-031 as a treatment for newly diagnosed type 1 diabetes.

Although no one involved in the study was diagnosed with COVID-19, Proventio Bio made this decision to protect all those involved in the study as the disease continues to spread. The company is unsure how long this hiatus will last. Fortunately, Proventio Bio also announced that its other clinical trials have remained unaffected by the COVID-19 outbreak. 

Clipboard with sheet of paper and the word "Coronavirus" written on it.

Image source: Getty Images.

Other companies could do the same

As the spread of COVID-19 continues throughout the country -- with more than 7,700 reported cases and at least 118 deaths -- more drugmakers could decide to halt ongoing clinical trials to protect the safety of those involved. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently issued guidance to "industry, investigators and institutional review boards conducting clinical trials" in the age of COVID-19.