How to ethically conduct research with Black populations at the intersection of COVID-19 and Black lives matter

By Natasha Crooks, Geri Donenberg, Alicia Matthews. For months now, we have been asking ourselves if it is appropriate to engage populations in research who are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 and continuously being murdered by institutions (i.e., government, police, hospitals) that are supposed to be protecting them. The current societal context suggests Black lives are […]

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Dialyzing the discourse: a response to Rohrig and Manheim

By Hayden P. Nix and Charles Weijer In a recent blog post, we sought to answer the narrow question: is altruistic kidney donation sufficiently analogous to participation in a SARS-CoV-2 challenge study to justify the risks of SARS-CoV-2 challenge studies? We argued that three morally relevant differences (the risk of adverse effects, the availability of […]

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Response to Nix and Weijer: Close Eneph? SARS-CoV-2 challenge studies and altruistic kidney donation

By Abie Rohrig and David Manheim. In a recent blog post, Nix and Weijer argue that living kidney donation and volunteering for a COVID-19 challenge trial are disanalogous, and that “advocates of SARS-CoV-2 challenge studies must look elsewhere to justify the level of risk in these studies.” They offer three arguments to support this view: adverse effects […]

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Close Eneph? SARS-CoV-2 challenge studies and altruistic kidney donation

By Hayden P. Nix and Charles Weijer. Human challenge studies are clinical trials in which researchers intentionally infect research participants with a pathogen. The UK government has announced plans to conduct SARS-CoV-2 challenge studies beginning in January 2021. SARS-CoV-2 human challenge studies are controversial because of the risks they pose to participants. In order to […]

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How to ethically manage the double agency of physicians during a pandemic

By Thibaud Haaser The Covid-19 constitutes a real global crisis, going beyond the sole medical dimension. Medical, socio-economic or educational issues have highlighted the need to identify specific therapeutic or preventive agents as soon as possible. The necessity to build reliable medical knowledge is part of the response to such a crisis. Although the crisis […]

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Terrible choices in the septic child

By David Wright and Joshua Parker. The Pharmacogenetics to Avoid Loss Of Hearing (PALOH) trial has created some interesting and important discussions. Questions regarding what should be considered “routine care”, whether parental choice should alter routine care and the fundamental question of whether consent for genetic testing should be considered differently to non-genetic testing. However […]

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Is it acceptable to pay nothing or little to challenge trial participants?

By Sandro Ambuehl, Axel Ockenfels and Alvin E Roth. Concerns with (high) incentives feature prominently among ethicists. In the broad public and amongst economists, by contrast, there is much agreement that workers providing a service should be compensated fairly, and that work involving more discomfort and risk should be compensated more generously. This intuition extends […]

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Frauds and misconduct in scientific research: a harsh lesson from the pandemic

By Erik Boetto and Davide Golinelli. Frauds and misconduct have been common in the history of science. A well-known example is that of former-doctor A.J. Wakefield, who published a study in 1998 reporting the association between measles, mumps, and rubella vaccination and a syndrome of autism in children. Only in 2011 was it proven that […]

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Should unethical research be retracted?

By William Bülow It is no news that researchers sometimes make mistakes, or that some of us even commit fraudulent acts, such as data fabrication or falsification. Despite precautionary measures, such as careful editorial practices and peer-review, fraudulent or flawed research papers sometimes get published. When this happens, these papers should be retracted. This is […]

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Does consent make open label placebo research ethical?

By Laura Specker Sullivan Open label placebo studies hypothesize that placebos can be effective even when there is complete transparency about what participants are given. These studies are being run for conditions such as chronic pain, cancer-related fatigue, and irritable bowel syndrome. Open label placebos have garnered significant interest in the popular imagination, perhaps due […]

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