Pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly (LLY 0.69%) has been doing its part in the battle against COVID-19. It teamed up with the Indiana State Department of Health to make more testing for the disease available to people in its home state, and plans to start offering drive-thru testing for COVID-19 to active healthcare workers there. But in light of the threat the novel coronavirus poses, and the need for people to reduce human contact to slow its spread, the company is now making a significant change to its clinical trial activities.

While Eli Lilly will continue conducting clinical trials with patients who are already enrolled in them, it will no longer enroll new patients for its ongoing studies, and will also postpone the start of new ones. 

Doctor in a lab wearing goggles and holding test tube filled with a red liquid.

Image Source: Getty Images.

Clinical trials typically involve close interactions between patients and researchers. Since COVID-19 spreads primarily person to person, such contacts between patients and physicians put everyone involved at risk of spreading the disease. In light of that, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently issued new guidance to drugmakers for conducting clinical trials. 

Other companies have decided to halt some clinical trials because of the pandemic. For instance, clinical-stage biotech company Provention Bio (PRVB) chose to pause its phase 3 PROTECT Study, which was investigating the efficacy of PRV-031 as a treatment for newly diagnosed type 1 diabetes. Other biotech companies could announce similar measures in the weeks to come.