With nothing less than the success of the entire endeavor at stake, the unprecedented scientific quest to end the coronavirus pandemic with a vaccine currently faces one of its most crucial tests.
In a pandemic, research trials are often easier to fill and in the first 24 hours that a national website went online allowing people to volunteer to be considered for vaccine trials, 30,000 people registered, The Washington Post reported.
Because a vaccine must be diverse to make it work for everyone, it was imperative that many of the 30,000 volunteers for each trial come from diverse communities, particularly when younger people of color have died of coronavirus at twice the rate of White people.
If this is a vaccine trial that enrolls a bunch of 20-somethings or White college graduates, it will not give us the information we need, according to Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health.
Meanwhile, due to unethical research abuses of Black and brown communities, including the Tuskegee experiments that withheld syphilis treatments from African Americans that deliberately infected prisoners with sexually transmitted diseases, many people of color have a deep-seated distrust of medical authorities.
“Now, along comes the pandemic, and it’s more important now than ever that we have minorities included. We should be jumping over mountains to try and make this work,” Consuelo Wilkins, vice president for health equity research at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, said in a statement.