Call for more BAME representation in COVID-19 trials will fail if long-held diversity challenges are not addressed, says clinical trials patient recruitment company.

13th October 2020

Responding to the news that thousands more people from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities are being urged to take part in Covid-19 vaccine trials, Kate Shaw, CEO of Innovative Trials, a clinical trials patient recruitment company, warned that such a call will do little, if anything, to encourage people from BAME backgrounds to take part without tackling long-held challenges within the medical research field.

Shaw said: “I welcome today’s call for greater patient diversity within the Covid-19 vaccine trials, but simply asking people to sign up to a registry will never work unless it is backed by action and general clinical trial education.

“The issue of patient diversity is not new: people from BAME backgrounds have been under-represented in clinical research for many years. Reasons can include lack of knowledge of what clinical trials involve and cultural issues. It is factors like these that need to be addressed first to increase trust within communities and communicate what’s involved. This takes time, effort and patience.”

Innovative Trials has joined forces with two other organisations – COUCH Health and Egality – to call for change in the way medical research approaches diversity. A virtual event being held by the three companies next month will bring together those involved with medical research as well as BAME leaders and Chi Onwurah MP, Shadow Minister for Digital, Science & Technology, to consider how barriers can be overcome.

Shaw said: “It’s imperative that we all work together – from research funders and researchers to drug manufacturers and take an integrated approach to tackle this inequality. The only way to develop truly effective treatments and vaccines is to make sure clinical trials represent those most at risk.”

For more information about the online Road to Equality event being held by Innovative Trials, COUCH Health and Egality, visit https://www.clinicaltrialdiversity.info/

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For more information, please contact Laura Gibson at Presence Media on +44 7771 933609 or laura@presence-media.co.uk