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Why not? Motivations for entering a volunteer register for clinical trials during the COVID-19 pandemic

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journal contribution
posted on 21.09.2022, 16:56 authored by Selena Russo, Marco Bani, Marco Terraneo, Valeria Quaglia, Giampaolo Nuvolati, Rebecca Cavaliere, Serena Capici, Marina Elena Cazzaniga, Maria Grazia Strepparava

Backgrounds: Healthy volunteers play a key role in clinical trials and it is crucial to develop recruitment strategies that capitalise on their motivations and maximise their participation. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown the importance of finding motivated healthy volunteers for the development of new vaccines. Public registers represent a promising way to promote the participation of healthy volunteers in the research field, but their adoption is still limited. The current study aimed to explore the motivations of healthy volunteers to enrol in an Italian public register for clinical trials during the COVID-19 pandemic and their attitude toward participating in a phase 1 COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial. The impacts of different enrolling interview modalities (in person, by phone, by mail) on motivation, understanding of information and trust in researchers were also investigated.

Methods: An online survey investigating experience with COVID-19, motivations to enrol, trust in researchers, political and healthcare authorities and pharmacological companies was presented to people applying as healthy volunteers in the public register for clinical trials at Phase 1 Unit Research Centre of ASST Monza, Italy, and considering to participate in a COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial. Data were collected in June 2021.

Results: Altruistic motivations were the main driver for enrolling in the public register, while self-interested motivations were secondary. No gender differences were found. As for enrolling modalities, no differences emerged between in-person and interviews for motivation to enrol, understanding of information and trust in researchers. Email modality led to significantly lower volunteers' satisfaction and understanding of information but similar trust in research.

Conclusions: This study supports the validity of different interview modalities (in person and by phone) for the enrolment of healthy volunteers for clinical trials and highlights the positive role of public registers for the recruitment procedures.


Open access funding provided by Università degli Studi di Milano - Bicocca within the CRUI-CARE Agreement.



The original article is available at https://link.springer.com/

Published Citation

Russo S, et al. Why not? Motivations for entering a volunteer register for clinical trials during the COVID-19 pandemic. Eur J Clin Pharmacol. 2022:1–10.

Publication Date

14 September 2022

PubMed ID



  • Undergraduate Research


Springer Nature


  • Published Version (Version of Record)