Leyda Valentine, an assistant coordinator, takes blood from a volunteer as she participates in a COVID-19 vaccination study at Research Centers of America on Aug. 07 in Hollywood, Fl.
Joe Raedle—Getty Images
Ideas
September 30, 2020 2:25 PM EDT

Agus is a professor of medicine and engineering at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine and Viterbi School of Engineering and the founding director of USC’s Lawrence J. Ellison Institute for Transformative Medicine.

We need one million more citizens to volunteer for the COVID-19 vaccine trials. Almost half a million Americans have signed up to be part of the clinical trials, but in order to complete the study, the COVID-19 Prevention Network—formed by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) at the U.S. National Institutes of Health—will need more volunteers, and especially more volunteers from diverse backgrounds. The sooner the clinical trials finish accruing patients the sooner we will have results of the vaccine studies.

I am a cancer doctor, but like many doctors and researchers have been called in to assist in any way we can to help the effort to fight COVID-19. We are all seeing too much suffering from this devastating virus. While there are many clinical trials across the country working on treatments for COVID-19 and prevention strategies, few are as important as our national vaccine effort. I teamed with David Ellison, a Hollywood producer, and his amazing team, as well as the incomparable Harrison Ford, to put together a public service announcement to encourage every citizen to consider enrolling in the vaccine trial effort.

To aid in this effort, the COVID-19 Prevention Network sent an email out to those that had already volunteered, asking them why they did it. What they received back was overwhelming: an outpouring of inspirational and emotional videos, each giving a personal reason for becoming part of the trials.

It’s inspiring that we have seen so many Americans come forward to help one another and be part of the solution to COVID-19. But, for the clinical trials to be completed, we need more volunteers. I am not a part of the COVID-19 Prevention Network, but am privileged to play my part to assist them fight this invisible enemy, and I so hope many others do the same.

Please see PreventCOVID.org for more information and to register for the trial.

Contact us at [email protected].

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