Public Health Ethics 3 (1):35-38 (2010)

Brett Capps
State University of New York, Brockport
During a pandemic, where there is widespread human infection, various and varying measures are taken that are targeted at public health objectives. During the early stages of a pandemic, these objectives may focus on containing the disease and minimizing its spread, but they may switch to mitigation as the emergent infectious disease takes hold in a population. There has been considerable debate and elucidation of the ethical principles and framework for the various responses including the need to fast track research and vaccine development. However, the measures imposed during a pandemic would have unintended and untoward effect on ongoing clinical research. For example, precautionary measures, such as social distancing, may hamper ongoing clinical research, because recruitment and participation of patients and healthy volunteers is a potential source of virus spread. In this paper, we argue that a framework is needed to ensure the continuity of such research. Such a framework that considers the pertinent issues would need the ‘buy in’ of the key stakeholders (policy makers, funding agencies, institutional authorities, researchers and subjects) to ensure that the issues that are ethically relevant to pandemic planning would not be neglected or overlooked
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DOI 10.1093/phe/phq005
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