TUESDAY, Dec. 13, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Females are underrepresented in COVID-19 treatment trials, while Asian and Black individuals are underrepresented in COVID-19 prevention trials, according to a review published online Dec. 5 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Hong Xiao, Ph.D., from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center in Seattle, and colleagues conducted a systematic literature review to assess representation of participants in COVID-19 trials.

Using data from 122 U.S.-based COVID-19 clinical trials (176,654 participants), the researchers found that estimated representation in prevention and treatment trials versus the U.S. population with COVID-19 was 48.9 and 44.6 percent versus 52.4 percent for female participants; 23.0 and 36.6 percent versus 17.7 percent for Hispanic or Latino participants; 7.2 and 16.5 percent versus 14.1 percent for Black participants; 3.8 and 4.6 percent versus 3.7 percent for Asian participants; 0.2 and 0.9 percent versus 0.2 percent for Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander participants; and 1.3 and 1.4 percent versus 1.1 percent for American Indian or Alaska Native participants. Female participants were underrepresented in treatment trials (85.1 percent of expected), while Black participants (53.7 percent of expected) and Asian participants (64.4 percent of expected) were underrepresented in prevention trials compared with expected rates in the COVID-19 reference population. Hispanic or Latino participants were overrepresented in treatment trials (206.8 percent of expected).

“Strategies to better ensure diverse representation in COVID-19 studies are needed, especially for prevention trials,” the authors write.

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