Human challenge trials to test the efficacy of vaccine candidates against SARS? CoV? 2, the novel coronavirus behind COVID? 19, could save considerable time and many lives.
But they may initially seem unethical because they expose healthy volunteers to a live virus that is killing many people and for which no cure exists.
This article argues that this is not the correct test of their ethics. The correct test is comparative. And in the special circumstances of the COVID?19 pandemic, human challenge trials meet the correct test better than standard efficacy testing would.
Eyal directs the Center or Population-Level Bioethics at Rutgers University and is a professor at the university.
Early-view article: Equitably Sharing the Benefits and Burdens of Research: Covid-19 Raises the Stakes
Carl H. Coleman
One of the central principles of research ethics is that the benefits and burdens of research with human participants should be equitably distributed.
This principle has important implications for questions about where research will be conducted, how participants will be recruited, what questions will be investigated, and who will control the distribution of any innovations that result.
In the rush to initiate clinical trials of treatments and vaccines for COVID? 19, careful attention to these questions is particularly important.
If clinical trials are not designed with equity considerations in mind, the response to the pandemic may exacerbate disparities in health status between population groups.
This article calls for an international governance system to oversee access to Covid-19 vaccines and treatments. Coleman is a professor of law at Seton Hall University School of Law