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Eva Marie Uzcategui Trinkl/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Seniors are dropping out of an ongoing coronavirus vaccine trial, now that more of them are eligible for vaccination, the Washington Post reports.

The big picture: Convincing people who are eligible for vaccines to instead participate in a trial — where they might receive a placebo — is an uphill battle.

  • "The window is closing on the ability to conduct a randomized trial,'' Gregory Glenn, the president of research and development at Novavax, which is enrolling a trial for a potential vaccine, told the Post.

Between the lines: One alternative to placebo-controlled trials are trials that compare an investigational drug against an existing one.

  • But the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines' high rates of efficacy could make this kind of trial difficult.

The bottom line: “The future of large-scale trials [for coronavirus vaccines] is in doubt,'' Arthur Caplan, a clinical trial specialist at the New York University Langone medical center, told the Post.

  • "The more vaccines appear with either emergency approval, expanded criteria or plain licensing, there's no way that people are going to sign up for trials with placebo controls."

Go deeper

Jan 30, 2021 - World

Germany to impose travel restrictions to curb spread of coronavirus variants

Border police officers check passports and COVID-19 tests at Frankfurt Airport. Photo: Thomas Lohnes via Getty Images

Germany announced Friday that it was imposing new travel restrictions in an effort to curb the spread of more contagious coronavirus variants.

Details: All non-German residents traveling from countries deemed "areas of variant concern," including the United Kingdom, South Africa, Portugal, Ireland, Brazil, Lesotho and Eswatini, will be banned from entering the country, even if they test negative for the coronavirus.

Jan 30, 2021 - World

Science helps New Zealand avoid another coronavirus lockdown

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (L) visits a lab at Auckland University in December. Photo: Phil Walter/Getty Images

New Zealand has avoided locking down for a second time over COVID-19 community cases because of a swift, science-led response.

Why it matters: The Health Ministry said in an email to Axios Friday there's "no evidence of community transmission" despite three people testing positive after leaving managed hotel isolation. That means Kiwis can continue to visit bars, restaurants and events as much of the world remains on lockdown.

Updated 1 hour ago - Health

First North American Omicron cases identified in Canada

COVID-19 testing personnel at Toronto Pearson International Airport in September. Photo: Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images

The first two cases of the new Omicron variant have been detected in North America, the Canadian government announced Sunday evening.

Driving the news: The World Health Organization has named Omicron a "variant of concern," but cautioned earlier on Sunday that it is not yet clear whether it's more transmissible than other strains of COVID-19.