Trial seeks to enlist minority subjects
At the CityLights Virtual Network last Saturday, an impressive team of clinical trial scientists at Penn Medicine outlined their need for African Americans to step forward in their hugely important test of a leading vaccine candidate for the prevention of the COVID-19 virus.
Addressing several dozen community leaders and pastors of local churches was Dr. Florence Momplaisir, MD., Associate Professor at Penn Medicine and a member of the team of scientists and doctors testing a vaccine developed by Moderna and Pfizer pharmaceutical companies.
Given the turbulent political environment that surrounds the development of one or more effective vaccines, Dr. Momplaisir insisted in the strongest terms that Penn Medicine’s work adheres to the highest professional and ethical standards. It is being done completely independent of any political pressures.
To assure the broad usefulness of any vaccine, Penn is urgently recruiting members of minority groups and is reaching out to Southwest for this purpose. Penn is also giving extra wait in the selection of candidates to people over age 55 and at-risk occupation groups like healthcare workers and restaurant and retail employees.
Dr. Ian Frank, director of anti-retroviral clinical research at Penn Med reviewed their strict procedures governing the trial including the assurance of absolute privacy “blinding” the names of participants and a monthly health follow-up by the research team.
In an unprecedented move, Moderna and Pfizer, originators of the test vaccine have published the procedures or “protocols” they use for the trial. Usually, these are not revealed to the public or competing companies.
Moderating the gathering was Rev. Cean James, director of CityLights and pastor of Salt and Light Congregation located at The Common Place, 58th St. and Chester Ave. He began the meeting by noting the sad fact that half of Americans may not take the initial vaccine once it is developed – worrying that it might be either unsafe, ineffective, or premature. This negative attitude has certainly been produced by elements in the government sending confusing messages about vaccines and the best measures to control COVID-19.
CityLights network is an urban-suburban, faith-based network of organizations and individuals in Southwest seeking to improve the quality of life of residents.
CityLights meets regularly to share needs, resources, activities, and events of its members. It also conducts an annual Vigil for Victims of Violence each December. For information, email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Common Place now offers weekday free, all-day, in-person homework help for school children K-12 and an afternoon enrichment program as well. Contact www.thecommonplacephilly.com
For more information about Salt and Light Congregation visit: www.facebook.com/snlphilly/