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2021 Clinical Trials Day Is May 20

Participation in research studies is vital to finding cures.

Elderly Male Patient Talking with Female Doctor

In March 2020, when the pandemic hit, there were no approved treatments or vaccines for COVID-19.

A little more than a year later, much of the world is being vaccinated, and fewer people with COVID-19 are dying — kept alive and off ventilators with the help of approved treatments.

None of that would be possible without clinical trials, which happen at VCU Health every day.

International Clinical Trials Day on May 20 is a chance to engage with patients about the value of their participation in clinical trials. And it celebrates the tireless work of the doctors, nurses and staff that make clinical trials happen.

On May 20, 1747, Scottish physician James Lind conducted the first clinical study of the treatment of scurvy on 12 sailors. Lind discovered that, of six therapies, oranges and lemons had the greatest positive effect on sailors’ health.

Today at VCU, there are:

  • 300 ongoing clinical trials
  • 5,165 active clinical research participants
  • 2,417 participants enrolled in the past year
  • 32 COVID-19 clinical research studies

There are cutting-edge treatments for cancer through the VCU Massey Cancer Center. There are trials at VCU Pauley Heart Center that seek to unlock the mysteries of heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States. And there are studies across campus that target rare diseases, giving hope to patients with devastating diagnoses.


Last year, VCU was part of clinical trials for remdesivir, which became the first drug authorized by the FDA to treat COVID-19. And several ongoing studies test the efficacy of certain drugs and treatments in fighting COVID-19, as doctors continue to learn more about the novel coronavirus.

This year, it’s never been clearer: Clinical trials advance research and medicine for all, creating a healthier future for us and our families.

What’s it like to participate in a clinical trial?

Howard Reich's story: "The treatment worked"

VCU Health: Kathy White - COVID-19 Survivor and Clinical Trial Participant

Clinical trial may have helped COVID patient beat life-threatening pneumonia

COVID-19 survivor finds hope and health at Community Memorial Hospital

Reed Whitener shares his story of surviving cancer and being part of a clinical trial

What can I do to celebrate Clinical Trials Day?

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