Women, minorities underrepresented in some COVID-19 trials: 4 takeaways

Seattle-based Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center published the first meta-analysis of COVID-19 treatment and prevention clinical trials Dec. 5.

The study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, examined 122 U.S.-based clinical trials, involving more than 175,000 participants, for COVID-19 vaccines or treatments. Trials were published between October 2019 and February 2022.

Here are four key findings:

  1. Sex, race and ethnicity were reported in 89.3 percent, 77.9 percent and 71.3 percent of U.S.-based COVID-19 clinical trials, respectively, showing a gap in reporting important trial aspects.

  2. Female participants were underrepresented in treatment trials, at 85 percent of expected participants, but were well represented in COVID-19 prevention trials.

  3. Black and Asian participants were underrepresented in COVID-19 prevention trials, at 53.7 percent and 64.4 percent of expected participants, respectively, but were well represented in COVID-19 treatment trials.

  4. Hispanic participants were overrepresented in treatment trials, at more than 200 percent of expected participants.

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