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caption: Clinical trials of a possible COVID-19 vaccine are underway at the University of Washington, as well as through a range of other medical facilities in Washington state.
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Clinical trials of a possible COVID-19 vaccine are underway at the University of Washington, as well as through a range of other medical facilities in Washington state.

What makes people sign up for clinical trials?

And are you one of them?

Seattle was the earliest known epicenter of America's coronavirus outbreak, and it's also emerged as a leader in fighting it.

There are clinical trials here geared towards many facets of the fight against COVID-19: plasma testing, vaccines, drug therapies, and other interventions for folks who have not had, currently have, or have recovered from the disease.

One important thing to remember, says Dr. Ben Wilfond, is that medicine isn't perfect or all-knowing. He's chief of Bioethics and Palliative Care at the University of Washington Department of Pediatrics.

Everything we currently know about medicine, we know because people in the past agreed to support researchers in their work. And for a new illness like COVID-19, participation in trials has the ability to make real change. Dr. Wilfond spoke with Bill Radke about why some patients might hesitate to participate, and what he wished the public knew about research.