As clinical trials on potential vaccines and treatment drugs for the COVID-19 disease caused by the novel coronavirus get underway, researchers should strive for diversity in test subject selection, according to a leading expert on the topic.

Marjorie A. Speers, Ph.D., the executive director of non-profit Clinical Research Pathways, argues for more diversity, especially since many recent news reports focused on a high percentage of minorities suffering from COVID-19. In a new blog post, she says, “In the understandable rush to respond to the novel coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic, it’s important to adhere to tried and true research practices that produce valid scientific results. These practices include enrolling diverse groups of participants in clinical trials to make sure new vaccines and medicines work well for people of all ages, genders, races, and ethnicities.”

Speers is an epidemiologist and global leader in human research protections. Before taking the helm at Clinical Research Pathways, Dr. Speers was the founding president and CEO of the Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Programs. At the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, she was the deputy associate director for science and oversaw research protections for domestic and international research. She is available to talk about the issue with journalists.