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Moderna exec says COVID trials improved diversity recruiting

Reuters NEXT Newsmaker event in New York City

By Caroline Humer

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Moderna Inc's top scientist said on Tuesday that the vaccine maker has learned how to better recruit from diverse populations for its clinical trials from running its COVID-19 vaccine studies.

Moderna Chief Medical Officer Paul Burton, speaking at the Reuters NEXT conference in New York, said that in 2020 the company needed to slow enrollment in its initial COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial in order to include more people in communities of color.

"We recognized that to get good uptake to get real acceptance, you need to have representation of all sorts of people from different communities," Burton said, noting that the company was eventually able to enroll 37% of its 35,000-person trial from communities of color.

Moderna has worked to match that diverse enrollment in its other ongoing trials, Burton said. He said enrollment of people of color in its Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) and Cytomegalovirus (CMV) vaccine trials was probably over 35%.

Burton also said the company had used new technologies to allow people to take part in studies from home, which he said could help democratize research by reaching even further flung populations.

To view the Reuters NEXT conference live on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, please click here.

(Writing by Michael Erman; Editing by Bill Berkrot)