Moderna and Pfizer, the two major pharmaceutical companies developing coronavirus vaccines, are still not enrolling enough minorities in their clinical trials, according to their trial updates.
The recommendation: Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CNN that Phase 3 clinical trials should aim to include minorities at levels that are at least double their representation in the population to better reflect the population most affected by Covid-19.
That would mean 37% of the study participants would be Latino, and 27% would be Black.
The reality: As of this week, 16% of Moderna’s study subjects were Latino, and 10% were Black.
And as of August 31, 11% of Pfizer’s study subjects were Latino and 8% were Black.
That doesn’t square with Fauci’s recommendation to aim to enroll those minorities at levels at least double their numbers in the Census.
Why this matters: Minority enrollment in the trials is important for two reasons:
- The vaccine might work differently in people of color than in White people, and those effects need to be studied.
- To find out if the vaccine works, a sufficient number of people need to get infected and sick with Covid-19. That means researchers need to vaccinate enough high-risk people – and Covid-19 has hit Blacks and Latinos particularly hard.