Healthy volunteers are essential to the development of new technologies and treatments in medicine. In fact, without healthy volunteers participating in clinical trials, no new therapies, medicines, diagnostics or devices can be released for use by healthcare providers or patients.
Healthy volunteers help create new knowledge, determine the safety and efficacy of new therapies, and therefore help improve the lives of patients around the world. Without healthy volunteers, clinical trials that test medical research discoveries and new developments would not be possible. Being a healthy volunteer in a clinical trial is a remarkable gift that can have a positive impact on thousands, even millions, of lives and generations for years to come.
Healthy volunteers are required at stage or phase I of the three chronological phase clinical trial process. In phase II and II, clinical trials require people who are diagnosed with and managing a specific disease or disorder.
What is a “healthy volunteer?”
A “healthy volunteer” is someone who has no known significant health problems and participates in research on a new drug, medical device or clinical intervention (an activity directed at or performed on an individual with the aim of improving health, treating disease or injury, or making a diagnosis) for a specific health condition.
This research could involve an innovative cancer drug, new rehabilitation techniques for people who have had a stroke, a new vaccine for an infectious disease or a more accurate diagnostic imaging test to help accelerate the early detection and treatment decisions, for example.
Healthy volunteers are typically financially reimbursed for their time, depending on the clinical trial. Healthy volunteers are required to attend outpatients clinics at hospitals to be assessed, participate in the trial directly or to be monitored over weeks or months. Sometimes healthy volunteers are required to stay overnight or for a few days in a hospital unit. The level or reimbursement increases the more complicated or onerous the trial becomes.
Why are healthy volunteers needed?
Healthy volunteers are needed to help researchers understand the safety and effectiveness of a new medical intervention. They help in the generation of important information that enables researchers to define the limits of “normal,” and provides a way to compare with people who have a specific disease or condition.
Healthy volunteers are typically needed in phase I of clinical trials. Here, after extensive testing in the lab, a new medical intervention is tested in a small group of people for the first time. This small group is often made up of healthy volunteers. The aim of this phase is to determine how safe a new medical intervention is, how it works (what the drug does to the body and what the body does with the drug) and if there are side effects. This phase is typically very short and very tightly controlled where participants are highly monitored.
How do I become a healthy volunteer in a clinical trial?
There are many clinical trials around the world currently looking for healthy volunteers to participate. By registering on the Opin platform as a healthy volunteer, we will send you any opportunities near you.