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News Release

AIDS Clinical Trials Group

From Tucson to Tulsa, and many places in between, a national health effort called “Rise Above COVID” is reaching out to Native Americans. The hope is that those who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 within the past 10 days will consider enrolling in ACTIV-2, a clinical trial searching for new medicines to heal the sick.

Sponsored by the U.S. National Institutes of Health, the trial has closely collaborated with Native American experts as well as the National Institutes of Health's own Tribal Health Research Office. While understanding the historic hesitance around participating in federal U.S. research programs, Indigenous leaders have seen the effects of COVID-19 in their nations and communities and are encouraging people to consider enrolling in the ACTIV-2 trial to rise above COVID.

“There is an understandable mistrust in Native communities when it comes to participating in research,” said Rose James, PhD (Lummi/Duwamish), an expert in bioethics research and director of research and evaluation for the Urban Indian Health Institute. She is also a member of "Rise Above COVID"'s Community Advisory Board. “At the same time, I believe it is important for Native people to have the opportunity to volunteer in research, as long as it has gone through the proper steps to ensure it is safe for our communities, which this trial has.”

While Native Americans represent less than two percent of today's total U.S. population, fewer than one percent of ACTIV-2 trial participants to-date have been Native American, and the study’s goal is to be as representative as possible. 

More than 150 study sites are open, including some in areas where the Indian Health Service reports rising cases of COVID-19:

  • Bozeman & Butte, Montana
  • California (30+ sites)
  • Nashville, Tennessee
  • Portland, OR (four sites)
  • Rochester, Minnesota
  • Santa Fe, New Mexico
  • Sioux Falls & Rapid City, South Dakota
  • Tucson, Arizona
  • Tulsa, Oklahoma

ACTIV-2 is sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The National Institutes of Health also funds the AIDS Clinical Trials Group, the largest global HIV research network, which has expanded its focus to include evaluating outpatient treatment for COVID-19 and is conducting the study. ACTIV-2 is part of the National Institutes of Health’s Accelerating COVID-19 Therapeutic Interventions and Vaccines (ACTIV), a public-private partnership program to create a coordinated research strategy that prioritizes and speeds development of the most promising treatments and vaccines. It also receives support from the Federal COVID Response–Therapeutics, the U.S. government’s multi-agency effort to accelerate the development, manufacturing, and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics.

Site locations and additional information about the study is available at RiseAboveCOVID.org along with overall information about clinical trials, provided by Urban Indian Health Institute.

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