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Coronavirus: Clinical Trials

Question for Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

UIN HL8335, tabled on 21 September 2020

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of research from Radboud University Medical Center, Aarhus University and Copenhagen University that suggests sex and gender are not being adequately considered in COVID-19 clinical trials; and what steps they are taking, if any, in response.

Answered on

5 October 2020

Vaccine developers that the Government are working with decide on which specific groups to include in their trials. For instance, the University of Oxford / Astra Zeneca Phase 3 trial includes arms that specifically looks at safety and efficacy of the vaccine in those aged between 56 – 69 and over 70. For the groups that are investigated, researchers are assessing the immune response to the vaccine to find out if there is variation in how well the immune system responds in older people.

In addition to the work that vaccine developers are undertaking, the Government has funded the NHS Registry, developed by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). This national registry is encouraging people who may be disproportionately affected by COVID19, such as older people, older people with underlying health conditions and people from different ethnic groups, to volunteer for clinical trials. This includes supporting the development of communications materials to provide information on taking part in COVID19 vaccine trials via the NIHR website (Be Part of Research).