We've updated our Privacy Policy to make it clearer how we use your personal data.

We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. You can read our Cookie Policy here.

Advertisement
Study Indicates a Lack of Diversity in COVID-19 Clinical Trials
News

Study Indicates a Lack of Diversity in COVID-19 Clinical Trials

Study Indicates a Lack of Diversity in COVID-19 Clinical Trials
News

Study Indicates a Lack of Diversity in COVID-19 Clinical Trials

Credit: Dung Tran, Pixabay
Read time:
 

Want a FREE PDF version of This News Story?

Complete the form below and we will email you a PDF version of "Study Indicates a Lack of Diversity in COVID-19 Clinical Trials "

First Name*
Last Name*
Email Address*
Country*
Company Type*
Job Function*
Would you like to receive further email communication from Technology Networks?

Technology Networks Ltd. needs the contact information you provide to us to contact you about our products and services. You may unsubscribe from these communications at any time. For information on how to unsubscribe, as well as our privacy practices and commitment to protecting your privacy, check out our Privacy Policy

Despite disproportionately higher rates of COVID-19 infection, hospitalization and death among people of color, minority groups are significantly underrepresented in COVID-19 clinical trials, according to a new perspective authored by faculty from the University of Georgia and University of Colorado and pharmacists from Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital in Albany.

Published by the New England Journal of Medicine, the article calls on , funders of research, among others, to diversify study participants in order to be able to generalize results to the larger U.S. population. Lead author is Daniel Chastain, a clinical assistant professor of pharmacy at UGA's Albany campus. Co-authors also include Sharmon Osae and Henry Young from the UGA College of Pharmacy and Joeanna Chastain from Phoebe.

In the nationally funded Adaptive COVID-19 Treatment Trial that is testing the efficacy of the antiviral remdesivir, Black Americans accounted for 20% of the total patient population. In the Gilead-funded clinical trial of the drug, only roughly one out of every 10 patients given remdesivir were Black. Latinx and Native Americans comprised 23% of the former trial and less than 1% of the latter.

"The overwhelming majority of the patients in both of those large clinical  were Caucasians," said Chastain. "Knowing that African Americans die at a higher rate than Caucasians, can I say that this medication will work in them as well? Yes, they enrolled a bunch of patients and yes they got these data out as fast as possible, but can we use this information to inform treatments in all patients?"

The remdesivir trials showed patients given the drug recovered from COVID-19 slightly faster than those who received placebos, but Black, Indigenous and people of color often experience more severe symptoms and complications from the disease. It remains undetermined whether they will respond as well to the medication.

"Why aren't we putting up infrastructure for clinical trial sites in areas that were heavily hit by COVID?" Chastain said. "If we would've included Albany, those  would've been more diversified and would've been much more representative of what the  pandemic looks like in our area and throughout the U.S."

Chastain previously co-authored a paper, published in the Journal of Hospital Medicine, urging  to learn from medical mistakes made during previous disease outbreaks and to be more circumspect in using unproven and undertested treatments and therapies on patients.

"I think the hardest question to address is what's the harm? I have no idea what the potential long-term complications of these treatments may be. We don't know. That's what makes me the most nervous going forward," Chastain said. "We're so prone and we're taught that you always have to 'do something,' but sometimes doing something is the worst thing to do in that scenario."

Reference: Daniel B. Chastain et al. (2020). Racial Disproportionality in Covid Clinical Trials. New England Journal of Medicine. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMp2021971

This article has been republished from the following materials. Note: material may have been edited for length and content. For further information, please contact the cited source.

Advertisement