As the pursuit of a COVID-19 vaccine intensifies, researchers stress the importance of large, diverse trial groups. A successful vaccine must work for everyone. “It’s a scientific necessity, but also a moral imperative, as younger people of color die of coronavirus at twice the rate of white people, and black, Hispanic and Native Americans are hospitalized at four to five times the rate of white people in the same age groups,” states the Washington Post. These disparities exist not only in COVID-19 death rates, but in breast cancer death rates as well: Despite having similar incidence rates to white women, African American women are 42 percent more likely to die from breast cancer and, in the United States, breast cancer is the foremost reason for cancer-related mortality in Hispanic women.
At the Dr. Susan Love Foundation for Breast Cancer Research, we have long understood the necessity for diversity in research and have been the world leader in recruiting all ages, genders, races, and ethnicities in our Love Research Army. We have even offered our resources, a supporter base of 900,000 people willing to participate in research, to fight COVID-19. As early as March, we partnered with Andrew Chan, MD, MPH, Chief of the Clinical and Translational Epidemiology Unit Director of Cancer Epidemiology at Massachusetts General Hospital to help recruit a diverse population for the COVID-19 Symptom Tracker, which has now recruited over 4 million participants. As with the Foundation, they see the importance of offering their resources in Spanish as well. It’s not enough to talk about diversity, we must encourage and partner with organizations taking actionable steps to foster it. Diversity and inclusion are key pillars and essential to ending both COVID-19 and breast cancer for all.
View our webinar on the COVID-19 Symptom Tracker with Andrew Chan, MD, MPH and Susan Love, MD, MBA here.
Join the Love Research Army here.