This blog post was researched and created in partnership with Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.
Diversity in clinical research trials, such as the COVID-19 vaccine trials, is scientifically important. Testing medications on different people helps researchers develop drugs that will work well for everyone. This is also a way to learn about how side effects impact people differently. But given the troubling history of minorities in medical research, many Americans are hesitant and unwilling to participate in clinical trials. This unwillingness is further complicated by data showing that a large number of the victims of COVID-19 are often non-white or elderly individuals.
To learn more about clinical trials, check out Health for All, a project of Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and partners including CPL to help people make informed decisions about joining a clinical trial.
These articles discuss the importance of prioritizing diversity in the COVID-19 clinical trials. You can read these articles using CPL's Online Resources, but we've also noted if an article is available freely on the web.
"Rising Mistrust of ‘Warp Speed’ Vaccine May Prolong Pandemic" by Jan Hoffman
The New York Times, July 18, 2020 (also available on the New York Times website)
After President Trump’s promise to “fast-track" a vaccine, there's been a growing distrust and unwillingness to participate in research trials due to past injustices, particularly in African-American communities.
"The Color of COVID-19: Will Vaccine Trials Reflect America’s Diversity?" by JoNel Aleccia
Kaiser Health News (KHN), July 27 2020 (also available on the KHN website)
The COVID-19 vaccine trials face many challenges, particularly in recruiting a diverse population sample. This article covers what some researchers are doing to overcome these challenges.
"Racial Disproportionality in COVID Trials" by Daniel B. Chastain, Sharmon P. Osae, Andres F. Henao-Martinez, Carlos Franco-Paredes, Joeanna S. Chastain and Henry Young
The New England Journal of Medicine, August 27, 2020 (also available on the NEJM website).
This dense yet critical article examines the role that medical mistrust may be playing in minorities’ unwillingness to participate in clinical research studies.
"Pfizer Proposes Expanding COVID-19 Vaccine Trial to Include More Diversity As Race for a Vaccine Continues" by Dakin Andone
CNN, September 13, 2020 (also available on the CNN website)
Researchers assert that with the start of the new academic school year, the increase in COVID-19 cases related to these campuses places further importance on the need to develop a vaccine as quickly as possible.
"COVID-19 Highlights Urgent Need to Address Patient Diversity in Clinical Trials"
Responsesource, May 20, 2020 (also available on the responsesource website)
Innovative Trials, a clinical trial patient recruitment company, calls on the medical research community and pharmaceutical industry to work together to tackle the lack of diversity in COVID-19 clinical trials.