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1Day Sooner Hosts Panel to Discuss Diversity in the UK COVID-19 Challenge Trials

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The Africa and UK chapters of the medical trial volunteer advocacy organization 1Day Sooner are co-hosting a panel discussion featuring African researchers and volunteers on July 22, 1 PM EDT/5 PM GMT/6 PM BST/7 PM CAT. The panelists will cover the current status of the hVIVO challenge trial and discuss the ethics of potentially widening the eligibility criteria for these trials to include seronegative volunteers from countries outside of the UK. Widening the eligibility criteria could be an important way of expanding the pool of eligible volunteers for COVID-19 challenge trials. Audience members will be able to ask the panelists questions after the discussion.

Panelists Paul Ndebele and Zacharia Kafuko are  scientific professionals committed to improving medical ethics and public health. Dr. Ndebele is a Senior Research Regulatory Specialist in the Milken Institute School of Public Health, at The George Washington University, who focuses on improving informed consent, ethics review capacity building, public health ethics, and justice in international collaborative research. Mr. Kafuko is a molecular biochemist and Mandela Washington Fellow (ASU), currently serving as the 1Day Africa Manager. He is a prospective volunteer for COVID-19 human challenge trials, and staunch advocate for vaccine equity who believes that clinical trial diversity is a scientific requirement even more than it is an equity one.

This event is part of an ongoing effort by 1Day Sooner to address and improve vaccine accessibility. Africa remains disproportionately lacking in vaccines, and the COVID-19 pandemic continues unabated across the continent. Challenge trials can improve our understanding of COVID-19 and provide a route to developing new vaccines, increasing accessibility. Volunteers in the 1Day Sooner UK chapter have been instrumental in supporting the UK challenge trials by promoting the right of people to participate in challenge trials.