GHUCCTS

What questions people should ask before signing up for a clinical research study?

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May 14, 2020

COVID-19 is a new disease that has spread around the world. It is caused by a new virus not seen before in humans. What we know about COVID-19 changes fast. Clinical research is one way that we will find safe ways to beat this disease. 

What is clinical research?

Clinical research tests new ways to understand, diagnose, prevent, and treat diseases. This short video from the National Institute for Child Health and Development can tell you more.

These studies could not be done without the people who agree to take part. Volunteers help researchers find answers to many health questions. As the world deals with COVID-19, researchers are looking for the best ways to prevent and treat this new disease. Research volunteers will be essential to getting answers. There are important questions to ask before signing up for a clinical research study.

What questions should I ask before joining a clinical research study?

Members of the research team for any clinical research study should be willing and able to answer your questions. Here are some questions you may want to ask:

  • What is the purpose of this study?
  • What will I be asked to do?
  • Will I be asked to take a new medicine that hasn’t been used before? (NEW)
  • What happens if I don’t get the new medicine or treatment? (NEW)
  • How will my care be different if I decide not to take part in the study? (NEW)
  • How will this study benefit me?
  • What risks are involved?

Is there anyone else I can talk to about being in a clinical research study?

Yes. Some research centers have Research Participant Advocates. These advocates help ensure the rights, safety, and well-being of people who take part in research. Their job is to make sure that people get the information they need to know while they are in a research study. 

Where can I learn more about being in a clinical research study?

Our website has more Frequently Asked Questions that you can look at before you get started. Check out WePartner4Research to learn more about how clinical trials work and what trials you can join. There you will also find out why research volunteers are so important for improving health, including ending the coronavirus pandemic.


The official name of the virus that started a worldwide outbreak in late 2019 is “Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2.”  The abbreviation is SARS-CoV-2. When the virus infects someone, the diagnosis is called “Coronavirus Disease 2019.” The abbreviation is COVID-19. In COVID-19, ‘CO’ stands for ‘corona,’ ‘VI’ for ‘virus,’ and ‘D’ for disease.

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