COVID-19 Updates

This page was last updated on June 5, 2020


Will the Campus IRB operate on a normal schedule? 

Effective Friday, March 13, 2020, the Campus IRB will begin working remotely. Staff will continue to be available via email and by phone during normal business hours (8:00AM - 5:00PM). An online review procedure has also been implemented to carry out reviews of exempt and expedited research protocols, and plans are in place to conduct convened IRB meetings remotely should a protocol submission need full board review. We are confident the processes we have put in place will limit any major interruptions to our normal day-to-day operations.


Will working remotely delay the review of my protocol submission?

The Campus IRB has always striven to provide the best customer service to our researchers. This includes reviewing research protocol submissions as quickly as possible, while still ensuring that we meet our responsibility to protect human subjects in research.

As you may know, the nature of our work is such that IRB staff and IRB members meet together frequently to carry out the review of your protocol submissions. Transitioning to a virtual working style may present some complexities we are not able to anticipate, but we want to reassure our researchers that we are committed to maintaining our current level of service.


I’m a student researcher, or I have students on my research team. Can students still be engaged in research activities during this time?

All students carrying out research, whether their own or as a member of a research team, may only continue research activities remotely.


My study involves in-person interactions with participants. Does that have to change because of Duke's response to the coronavirus?

On March 17, 2020, the Vice President for Research notified the Duke research community that all research involving in-person interactions with participants must transition those interactions to take place remotely, either by phone or online. If a research study cannot be carried out remotely, the study must be suspended until further notice.


I am currently abroad doing research. How do I implement Duke’s response to COVID-19 into my research at my international site?

Leadership's decision to transition all in-person research activities to be carried out remotely applies to both domestic and international research studies. If a research study cannot be carried out remotely, the study must be suspended until further notice.

Researchers who are abroad should also keep themselves updated on local health advisories and in-country restrictions implemented in response to the coronavirus.


What if I need to make changes to research because of the coronavirus?

Changes to an IRB-approved protocol that are being proposed to address the coronavirus may not require submission of an amendment to the IRB. Visit our policy on amending protocols in response to COVID-19 for more information. You can also contact the IRB to confirm if the changes you are proposing to make need a formal amendment. If your changes need to be submitted as an amendment, please put “COVID-19 Amendment” in the subject line of your email as well as in the Request to Amend an Approved Protocol form. These amendments will be given priority for IRB review/approval.

Submissions for new research and check-ins for approved protocols will be treated much in the same way they are now. They will be logged in and processed as we receive them.


I will be asking participants questions -OR- analyzing existing data related to the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic. Do I have to do anything different as part of the IRB process?

In an effort to stay abreast of all research related to COVID-19, Leadership has asked all Duke researchers gathering or accessing data about the coronavirus, COVID-19, or the pandemic (in any way), to enter their research study on MyResearchHome.

Once you have signed into MyResearchHome, click on the Research Dashboard button for COVID-19 Research & Activities. You can then register your study by selecting "Notify us of COVID-19 Research & Activities."


With states re-opening and countries easing lockdown restrictions, what are the procedures for determining whether and when in-person data collection can take place?

As of June 5, 2020, Duke’s COVID restrictions for face-to-face research are still in effect. We do not know when those restrictions will be lifted. Questions about resuming in-person research activities should be directed to your dean or department chair.


Where can I find more information on Duke's response to the coronavirus as it relates to research?

In light of the current concerns around COVID-19 and possible impacts to the university, Duke is advising that the research community plan now for possible disruptions to research operations and to develop a continuity plan in the event of campus closures or should large numbers of employees become ill or have to self-isolate. Please visit Duke's Coronavirus (COVID-19) Research-Related Updates page for more information. This page will be updated frequently.