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Calling for more diversity in clinical trials

Medical experts say this health crisis has made it all the more clear how important diversity is in clinical trials.

LUZERNE COUNTY, Pa. — Right now, there are clinical trials for COVID-19 treatments, as well as treatments for all kinds of other medical issues.

The problem, according to some, is that mostly middle-aged white men are in those clinical trials, and that means some of the treatments or developments might affect others differently, depending on their race, ethnicity, gender, or age.

“The effect is significant in terms of science, medicine, and also the population that we are all trying to serve," said Dr. Harsha Rajasimha, CEO of Jeeva Informatics Solutions Inc.

Some experts said a pandemic is actually the perfect time to highlight this problem for people: To make them see it’s been an issue for a long time and needs to change quickly.

“If you’re making a drug for the broader, all 7, 8 billion people, you are now making the vaccine available worldwide. 90 percent are not Caucasian.”

Doctors say people from all parts of the country and all different backgrounds need to be used in clinical trials for better research and testing and better results for everyone. 

They say government agencies should step in and provide better guidance and label drugs based on who was in the clinical trials.

“Ultimately, we all want the best thing for the patient to get the drug or vaccine out to the patients who need them the most, as effectively as possible.”  

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