*   Upcoming seminar details coming soon   *

 

 

 

*   Most recent seminars   *

Ethical responses to Ebola: applying lessons learned

7/11/2022

In 2014-2016, the largest Ebola outbreak to date, caused by the Zaire ebolavirus strain, was designated as a public health emergency of concern. The Ebola-Zaire strain, which has caused the majority of outbreaks and cases to date, has been the subject of significant research, including the development and licensing of two vaccines. In contrast, for the first time in over a decade, the current outbreak in Uganda is caused by the rarer Ebola-Sudan strain, for which vaccines are currently under development. This seminar reviews how lessons from previous Ebola outbreaks can contribute to embedding ethics in responses to the current and future ebolavirus outbreaks.  The seminar was chaired by Professor Ross Upshur and featured panelists Gloria Mason Ross, David Kaawa-Mafigiri and Professor Jerome Singh.

 

Recording coming soon

 

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Long COVID: Minding the Gap Between Infectious Disease and Chronic Condition

10/10/22

'Long COVID', otherwise referred to as 'post-COVID condition' or 'post-acute COVID-19 syndrome', is characterized by the persistence of a wide range of symptoms several weeks beyond the initial onset of symptoms. The incidence and prevalence of long COVID remains unclear, yet the recently published Lancet Commission on lessons for the future from the COVID-19 pandemic suggests that "long COVID might itself be an emerging pandemic". This webinar will explore ethical questions and considerations raised by long COVID, including how to set research priorities, how to care for long COVID patients, what obligations we have to prevent and mitigate SARS-CoV-2 infections given the prospect of long COVID, and how to tackle these challenges in a context of an unsettled definition and diagnostic criteria for long COVID. This seminar was chaired by Dr. Voo Teck Chuan and featured panelists Dr Rachel GrobDr. Ifeanyi M. NsoforDr. Janet Diaz.

Monkeypox: How should we ethically respond?

12/09/22

Monkeypox is an Orthopoxvirus that has been endemic to Central and West Africa for several decades. During 2022, monkeypox has spread to over 100 countries, many of which are seeing their first cases of the disease. As a result, on the 23rd of July 2022, the World Health Organization declared monkeypox a public health emergency of international concern, and made a series of recommendations for a global response. These include strengthening public health measures in affected settings and accelerating research into vaccines and therapeutics. However, preventive and treatment options are limited and other public health measures, such as contact tracing and risk communication, have proved challenging. This seminar was chaired by Professor Michael Parker and featured panelists Professor Ayodele Jegede, Professor David Heyman and Professor Hayley Macgregor.

Presentation - Professor Ayodele Jegede [Download ppt, 2mb]

Briefing note

 

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Ethical priorities for a new international instrument on pandemic prevention, preparedness and response

25/07/22

In December 2021 the World Health Assembly agreed to establish an intergovernmental negotiating body (INB) to develop a WHO instrument to strengthen pandemic prevention, preparedness and response. Currently under development, the ‘pandemic treaty’ aims to protect and promote the well-being of all people and help to keep future generations safer from the impacts of pandemics. This seminar explores the ways in which such a treaty should ensure that the intrinsically ethical values and judgements which inform decisions about how pandemic priorities should be addressed at multinational, national, institutional and individual levels are identified, and appropriately addressed. This seminar was chaired by Professor Ross Upshur and featured panelists Dr Alexandra Phelan, Dr Calvin Ho and Dr Mohga Kamal-Yanni.

 Briefing note 

 

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Portuguese version

Indigenous communities, 'vulnerability' and the COVID-19 pandemic

20/06/22

Indigenous populations around the world have historically experienced--and continue to experience--both social and economic marginalization, and as a result are at disproportionate risk during public health emergencies. This has led to significant inequities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, measures taken in response to the pandemic have in some instances also created or exacerbated inequities experienced by Indigenous populations. This seminar will explore ethical challenges experienced by Indigenous populations during the COVID-19 pandemic, how explicit and implicit 'vulnerabilities' are portrayed and experienced in this context, and the role that traditional knowledge and practices have played as a source of resiliency. This seminar was chaired by Dr Caesar Atuire, and featured indigenous panel members Dr Nicole Blackman, Ms Nora Parore, Dr Lindsey MacDonald, and Ms Joziléia Daniza Jagso

Briefing note / Blog 

Migrant Communities and the COVID-19 Pandemic: Ethical considerations

06/06/22

During the COVID-19 pandemic, migrants have often been denied rights and placed in situations which put them at heightened risk of disease. This seminar looks at migrant communities' explicit and implicit vulnerabilities in relation to COVID-19 and will also consider the ethics of implementing selective and restrictive public health measures for such communities. This seminar was chaired by Professor Lisa Eckenwiler and featured panelists Dr Thalia Arawi, Dr Jane Lim and Professor Vanessa Grotti.

Briefing note / Blog 

 

 

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‘Vulnerability’ and ‘othering’ during the COVID-19 pandemic

16/05/22

The COVID-19 pandemic has been marked by discourses of ‘vulnerability’ (e.g., identifying groups at increased risk of infection or disease) and practices of ‘othering’ (i.e., acts that target marginalized groups, often as if something is ‘wrong’ with them). For instance, some populations have been deemed ‘vulnerable’ due to socioeconomic factors beyond their control, which has often led to stigmatization, and whole countries have been blamed for negative outcomes, e.g., for the emergence of new variants of concern, which has often led to discrimination and exclusion. If we take the concepts of solidarity and justice seriously, we must consider how pandemic preparedness and response activities can proceed in a manner that avoids stigmatizing, blaming, and othering. This seminar will explore these ideas and will be followed up by additional seminars focusing on how 'vulnerability' and 'othering' have been experienced by specific population groups. This seminar was chaired by Dr Florencia Luna and featured panelists Dr Tamara Giles-Vernick, Professor Thomas Shakespeare, and Dr Aqsa Shaikh.

Briefing note / Blog

Using 'unproven' clinical interventions during public health emergencies: Ethical considerations

11/04/22

Epidemics and pandemics of novel pathogens are often characterized by a lack of known therapeutic or preventive interventions. It is therefore imperative to rapidly conduct research to study and develop countermeasures in these contexts. Yet, with research underway and no 'proven' therapeutic or preventive interventions, a question exists as to whether individuals, groups, or populations should be offered 'unproven' preventive and/or therapeutic interventions outside of clinical trials, including “off-label” interventions. This seminar will explore the use of 'unproven' clinical interventions during public health emergencies, coinciding with the recent publication of the World Health Organization's guidance document, 'Emergency use of unproven clinical interventions outside clinical trials: ethical considerations'. This seminar was chaired by Professor Ross Upshur and featured panelists Dr Alison Bateman-House, Dr Ignacio Mastroleo, and Dr Marta Lado Castro-Rial.

Briefing note / Blog

 

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Ethics, misinformation, and the COVID-19 pandemic

28/03/22

The COVID-19 pandemic has been accompanied by an infodemic: an overabundance of information – some accurate and some not – that makes it hard for people to find trustworthy sources and reliable guidance when they need it. In this context, misinformation and disinformation can spread at an alarming rate, which can in turn influence public opinion, undermine or support public health responses, and impact the length and intensity of outbreaks. Infodemic management, which includes attempts to understand tactics employed my malicious actors to spread information and 'social listening' – the regular and systematic aggregation, filtering, and monitoring of conversations and public discourse – has become crucial, but raises a number of important ethical considerations and questions. This seminar will explore the nature and role of ethics as it relates to the infodemic, misinformation, and infodemic management. This seminar was chaired by Professor Patricia Kingori and featured panelists Professor Timothy Caulfield, Ms Noran Adly, and Dr Sam Martin.

Briefing note / Blog 

Trust, trustworthiness and the COVID-19 pandemic

14/03/22

Trust in government and other institutions is said to play a key role in the success of pandemic response. Mistrust and distrust can therefore impede the effectiveness of response measures, leading some countries to fare worse than others despite similarities in epidemiological context and health system infrastructure. So, how exactly does this relationship between trust and successful pandemic response work? What key things should be done to strengthen trust? Insofar as trust has an historical element and can take significant time and effort to build, what can governments and public health authorities do during a crisis when operating with low levels of public trust? Finally, what is the difference between promoting trustworthiness as opposed to promoting trust, and what is the relevance of this distinction for pandemic response efforts? This seminar was chaired by Professor Michael Parker and featured panelists Professor Doris Schroeder, Dr Lauren Paremoer, and Mr Ethan Greenwood.

Briefing note / Blog 


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Re-visiting mandatory vaccination for COVID-19: evidence and ethics

14/02/22

Vaccines are one of the most effective tools for protecting people against COVID-19. Consequently, some governments and institutions have made COVID-19 vaccination ‘mandatory’ to increase vaccination rates and achieve public health goals, and others may be considering doing the same. Yet, given the rapidly evolving nature of the COVID-19 pandemic and evolving evidence regarding the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines against novel variants of concern (e.g., Omicron), the number of doses necessary to achieve public health objectives, and durability of protection, the scientific and ethical justification for mandatory vaccination for COVID-19 is similarly shifting and may be waning. This seminar will take stock of where countries find themselves with respect to the pandemic and explore this present context for evaluating the ethics of mandatory vaccination for COVID-19. This seminar was chaired by Professor Effy Vayena and featured panelists Dr Ezekiel J. Emanuel, Dr Christiane Druml, and Mr Allan Achesa Maleche.

Briefing note / Blog 

Ethics and pandemic policies: democracy in crisis

31/1/22

In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, ethics guidance has valuably informed some health policies and practices, such as oversight of research and crisis standards of care. However it has been less effective at addressing broader questions about how we should live together in this and future pandemics. A recent report by the Hastings Centre suggests that a key barrier to developing ethically informed health policies on major societal questions is the erosion of social cohesion driven by a lack of trust of both institutions and individuals. This trust deficit is a consequence of fundamental socioeconomic conditions marked by wealth inequality and widespread financial precarity, and changes to the information economy, including the rise of social media. This joint webinar hosted by Epidemic Ethics and the Hastings Centre will explore the role of restoring societal decision-making capabilities, in order to rebuild trust, social cohesion and shape ethics-informed pandemic policies and responses. This seminar was chaired by Dr Mildred Z. Solomon and featured panelists Mr Bruce Jennings, Dr Eduardo J. Gomez, and Dr Michael Gusmano.

Briefing note / Blog 


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Governance, Ethics, and the ACT-Accelerator

13/12/21

The Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator is a global collaborative effort to accelerate the development, production, and equitable access to COVID-19 tests, therapies, and vaccines (the latter being pursued through its COVAX pillar). Key to accomplishing its mission is establishing which organizations are playing which roles in ACT-A decision-making and ensuring such decision-making is informed by a robust ethical decision-making framework. This seminar explored the challenges and opportunities related to the governance and ethics of the ACT-Accelerator. This seminar was chaired by Professor Ross Upshur and featured panelists Professor Suerie Moon Dr Owen Schaefer, and Ms Katy Kydd Wright.


Briefing note / Blog 

Restricting population movement during COVID-19: ethics and justifications

8/11/21

In the COVID-19 pandemic, varying approaches to restricting population movements have been implemented globally with the aim of limiting transmission and providing time to scale up diagnostic, prevention and treatment capacities. However broad restrictions, including lockdowns, are associated with significant social and economic burdens, which are inequitably distributed. This seminar reviews questions about when and how restrictions can be ethically justified in a pandemic, and when they should be lifted. This seminar was chaired by Dr Voo Teck Chuan and featured panelists Dr Roberta Andraghetti, Ms Martina di Folco,and Professor Ruipeng Lei.

Briefing note | Blog


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Epidemic Ethics: COVID-19 Vaccine Boosters: when & why?

30/09/21

This Epidemic Ethics virtual seminar explored the ethical considerations surrounding the provision of  COVID-19 vaccination boosters. Given significant inequities in access to COVID-19 vaccines within and between countries, the panel sought to answer a range of questions not just about the value of providing boosters to specific populations, but also whether and how boosters might be justifiable while so many are still waiting for their initial vaccine doses. This seminar was chaired by Professor Michael Parker and featured panelists Professor Sir Andrew Pollard, Dr Kate O'Brien, and Dr Ayoade Olatunbosun-Alakija.

Briefing note | Blog

The impact of COVID-19 on mental health research practice: ethical issues

27/09/21

Global Forum on Bioethics in Research (GFBR) and Epidemic Ethics jointly hosted virtual seminar explored the ethics of how mental health research practice has changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Discussion included the ethical implications of transferring face-to-face research online and what safeguards are needed to protect the wellbeing of participants at a time when support from the research team or external services may be reduced due to social distancing and other restrictions. How do we ensure ethically robust mental health research in the time of COVID-19 and how best can researchers involve people with lived experience in the design of research as it transitions to the digital world? This seminar was chaired by Prof Ross Upshur and featured panelists Professor Ellen Townsend, Dr Abhishek Ghosh, and Professor Jackie Hoare.


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Epidemic Ethics: Children and COVID-19 Vaccination: Ethical impacts and considerations

13/09/21

This timely Epidemic Ethics seminar focused on the  topic of vaccinating children against COVID-19 and explored a range of ethical issues and challenges relating to paediatric vaccinations against COVID-19, including known risks and benefits in the context of uncertainity, vaccine mandates, off-label prescribing, and finally, whether that, given the fact COVID-19 is a mild illness in children, should paediatric vaccinations be delayed until the most vulnerable are vaccinated globally? This seminar was chaired by Dr Lisa Forsberg and featured panelists Dr Anthony Skelton, Dr Govind Persad, and Professor Beate Kampmann

Briefing note / Blog

 

 

Epidemic Ethics: Balancing COVID-19 with other priority health needs

19/07/21

This webinar sought to answer how we can balance addressing COVID-19 with other priority health needs? It considered a range of questions, including what are other priority health needs and how has the pandemic impacted these, and how should we strike the balance between addressing COVID-19 and other health priorities in both the context of public health, healthcare, and research? This seminar was chaired by Dr Adnan Hyder and featured panellists Professor Debora Diniz, Dr Caesar Atuire, and Dr Bridget Pratt.

Briefing note



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Epidemic Ethics: Governing Global Health in Pandemics: Evolution and Lessons Learned

21/06/21

This seminar discussed where and how global health governance has succeeded in managing the COVID-19 pandemic, where and how it has failed, and finally what are the key ethical lessons we've learned in terms of governing during a global pandemic. This seminar was chaired by Professor Lawrence O. Gostin and featured panellists Professor EK Yeoh, Professor Suerie Moon, and Dr Mark Eccleston-Turner.

Epidemic Ethics: Challenges and ethical implications of distinguishing between research and rollout in pandemic responses

24/05/21

The scale and pace of health research in the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in an exceptionally rapidly evolving evidence base, with governments and public health authorities rolling out strategies for COVID-19 diagnosis, treatment and prevention at an unprecedented rate. In such circumstances, it can be challenging to distinguish between research and public health, particularly when the interventions being researched may also be implemented in evolving public health responses. This seminar looks at the moral grounds for drawing distinctions between research activities and public health practices in a pandemic, and the implications of such distinctions for how they are conducted, governed, and communicated about with relevant populations. This seminar was chaired by Dr Lisa M. Lee and featured panelists Professor Jim Lavery, Professor Jerome Singh and Dr Rieke van der Graaf.

Briefing note


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Epidemic Ethics: Adapting ethics review to the COVID-19 pandemic

10/05/21

It is of critical importance to conduct research during public health emergencies, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet, research and the ethical review of research in these contexts present unique challenges, including the rapidity with which research and ethical review must occur. This seminar will explore the unique challenges associated with the ethical review of research during the COVID-19 pandemic, highlight the manner in which ethical review has adapted to address these challenges over the past year, and identify future opportunities for ethical review of research during public health emergencies. This seminar was chaired by Dr Carla Saenz and featured panelists Professor Maureen Kelley, Dr Roli Mathur and Ms Raffaella Ravinetto.

Briefing note| Further reading and guidance

Epidemic Ethics: Ethical considerations in alternative COVID-19 vaccination strategies

26/04/21

Faced with scarce and uncertain COVID-19 vaccine supplies, many countries are considering adopting vaccination schedules that differ from the recommendations of vaccine manufacturers. Some have extended the interval between doses for two-dose vaccines to provide at least some protection for a larger number of people sooner. Others are looking at maximizing the number of people receiving some degree of protection by administering partial doses or foregoing the second dose of two-dose vaccines altogether. A third approach under consideration is whether two different COVID-19 vaccines could be given at the same time, to complete a two-dose vaccination regimen in one visit. Deviations from manufacturer's recommendations could be seen as experimental, and have the capacity to threaten public confidence, but they might also avert substantial morbidity and mortality in populations. This seminar will explore the ethical considerations that ought to guide decision-making regarding adopting alternative vaccination strategies or implementing vaccine manufacturer recommendations. This seminar was chaired by  Prof Ross Upshur and featured panelists Dr Raji Tajudeen, Professor Jonathan Wolff and Dr Cassandra J. Opikokew Wajuntah.

Briefing note| Read the associated publication here

 

 

 
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Epidemic Ethics: Vaccine diplomacy during the COVID-19 pandemic

12/04/21

COVID-19 vaccines are one of the most important resources on the planet. Consequently, how these precious resources are used and shared (or not) has the capacity to significantly impact relationships between countries. Indeed, COVID-19 vaccines can and have been used and shared (or not) as a means of building or managing international relations. As a result, some have argued that vaccine production capacity and/or excess vaccine supply can position countries as diplomatic and moral powerhouses. Given commitments and efforts to distribute COVID-19 vaccines fairly, vaccine diplomacy warrants ethical scrutiny to ensure it helps to further this aim. This seminar explores the ethics of vaccine diplomacy during the COVID-19 pandemic. This seminar was chaired by Professor Michael Parker and featured panelists Professor Annelien Bredenoord, Professor Keymanthri Moodley and Professor Françoise Baylis.

Briefing note

Epidemic Ethics: A Grand Experiment: Ethical responsibilities in the global rollout of COVID-19 vaccines 

29/03/21

The unprecedented speed and scale of global rollouts of COVID-19 vaccines is playing a critical role in effectively responding to the pandemic. Decisions about global vaccine rollout have been made rapidly, informed by best available clinical research findings. What ethical responsibilities arise to monitor the safety and effectiveness of pandemic vaccines which are rolled out while still being evaluated in clinical trials? Globally, as over eight million doses of COVID-19 vaccines are received per day, what mechanisms should exist to ensure the sustained capacity to monitor and evaluate the outcomes of vaccination? This seminar was chaired by Professor Gagandeep Kang and featured panelists Professor Marc Lipsitch, Professor Dirceu Greco and Dr Nkhoma Pearson.

Briefing note

 


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Epidemic Ethics: Mandates and special privileges for COVID-19 vaccination

15/03/2021

With COVID-19 vaccination underway or on the horizon in many countries, many are turning their attention to whether the vaccination should be made mandatory, and if so, under what conditions, for whom, and in what contexts. This webinar will explore the ethics of mandatory COVID-19 vaccination both in general and in particular settings (e.g., health care settings), as well as examine the ethics of affording special privileges to those who are vaccinated, e.g., to travel and to gather in large groups. This seminar was chaired by Dr Maxwell J. Smith and featured panelists Professor Effy Vayena, Professor Sir Jonathan Montgomery, and Maya Peled Raz.

Briefing note

Epidemic Ethics: Effective COVID-19 vaccine(s)?

14/12/2020

The development of a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine will represent a significant triumph. Yet, perhaps counter-intuitively, this could raise rather complex ethical questions and challenges for other COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials. For instance, if a vaccine were to be authorized for emergency use, would it be unethical for vaccine trials to continue to employ placebo control arms? If not, should trial participants be discouraged from withdrawing from trials and accessing authorized vaccines? What methodological approaches should be used to generate evidence on COVID-19 vaccines after interim results for vaccines are available and vaccines are authorized or approved for use outside of clinical trials? This seminar will explore the ethical implications of promising COVID-19 vaccine candidates for vaccine research in 2021. This seminar was chaired by Professor Ross Upshur and featured panelists Dr Joseph Millum, Dr Dorcas Kamuya and Dr Beatriz Thomé.


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Epidemic Ethics & GFBR Joint Seminar: Ethics of research in pregnancy

30/11/2020

Recent evidence suggests that pregnant women are at a higher risk of morbidity and mortality from COVID-19, compared with age-matched women who are not pregnant. Yet the historical and systematic exclusion of pregnant women from research continues in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in a lack of evidence for this population. How can pregnant women be ethically and safely included in research and what part should researchers play in this? What role is there for community engagement to reconcile cultural norms and beliefs with the ethical and clinical rationale for research during pregnancy? And how do current governance mechanisms and regulation help or hinder the inclusion of pregnant women in research? This seminar was chaired by Dr Maggie Little and featured panelists Professor Marian Knight, Dr Loulou Kobeissi and Dr Sonali Kochhar.

Briefing note.

Epidemic Ethics & GFBR Joint Seminar: Ethics of adaptive trial designs

16/11/2020

The urgency of the COVID-19 pandemic has necessitated the investigation of multiple potential therapies in a timely way. In this context, adaptive trials are taking place to investigate multiple treatments and that are intended to continue beyond the evaluation of any one treatment. These complex trials have the potential to answer more questions efficiently and improve care for research participants by dropping therapies that are shown to be ineffective, but they present challenges. How should the risks and benefits be communicated to participants, understanding that the benefit:harm ratio may change over the course of the study? What consent model is appropriate for such dynamic trials? And how can regulators and research ethics committees be supported to understand and evaluate these statistically and logistically complex trials? This seminar was chaired by Professor Ross Upshur and featured panelists Dr Srinivas Murthy, Dr Fyezah Jehan and Professor Jerome Singh.

Briefing note

Please watch these two introductions before the main seminar


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Epidemic Ethics and GFBR Joint Seminar: Ethics of data sharing in health research

02/11/2020

Data sharing has the potential to increase scientific efficiency by maximising the availability and utility of data, and can be critical to generating knowledge during a public health emergency. But how can we share for maximum benefit and least harm, and without exacerbating existing inequalities between researchers from well-resourced and low-resourced settings? What do we need to do to ensure that data sharing policies and processes are respectful of participants and communities and what governance mechanisms need to be in place before patient data can be shared and used in health research? This seminar was chaired by Dr Robert Terry and featured panelists Professor Phaik Yeong Cheah, Ms Gloria Mason and Dr Oommen John.

Briefing note

Epidemic Ethics: COVID-19 vaccination in an era of vaccine hesitancy

05/10/2020

In 2019, WHO named vaccine hesitancy one of the ten greatest threats to global health. Now, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, when many are pinning their hopes for a return to normalcy on an effective vaccine, understanding vaccine hesitancy takes on greater urgency and complexity. In a public bombarded by misinformation, subjected to unprecedented restrictions in the name of public health, affected by increasingly polarised/politicised debate, will COVID-19 vaccine programs gain the acceptance and trust needed to be successful? (And what will happen if they don't?) This seminar was chaired by Dr Katherine Littler and featured panelists Dr Maya J. Goldenberg, Professor Heidi Larson and Professor Charles Shey Wiysonge.


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Epidemic Ethics: Setting priorities for COVID-19 vaccine allocation

21/09/2020

If and when a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine becomes available, there will not be enough to vaccinate everyone who wants it. Difficult decisions will have to be made about the allocation of available vaccines both between and within countries. What values should guide vaccine allocation in a world where governments face competing obligations to their own people and to the global community, and in societies where COVID-19 and control measures have such disparate outcomes for different people? This seminar was chaired by Professor Michael Parker and featured panelists Dr Anant Bhan, Professor Ruth R. Faden, and Ms Sophie Mathewson.

Epidemic Ethics: COVID: A case for research exceptionalism?

10/08/2020

The current COVID-19 pandemic has reignited calls to amend, adapt and short-cut the research design process. But does the current pandemic and the need for an urgent response necessitate that we rethink our current research models? What can we learn from the discussions that have occurred in and following past outbreaks on appropriate research design, especially the 2014-15 Ebola outbreak? Does there necessarily need to be a trade-off between scientific rigour and speed? What role can ethicists play in supporting the global research community to undertake scientifically and ethically robust research in this current pandemic? This seminar was chaired by Professor Michael Parker and featured panelists Professor Clement Adebamowo, Professor Alex John London and Ms Katharine Wright.

 


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Epidemic Ethics: Ethicists advising public health authorities: opportunities and challenges

27/07/2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has raised a number of distinctive and profound ethical challenges. It is therefore unsurprising that public health authorities have turned to ethicists for advice when developing and implementing policies and measures in their pandemic response. This has created many opportunities for ethicists to enhance the moral quality of public health decision-making; however, it has also raised a number of challenges, both substantive and procedural. This seminar presents the experiences and perspectives of ethicists who have played key roles in advising public health authorities in four countries during the COVID-19 pandemic. This seminar was chaired by Professor Michael Parker and featured panelists Dr Maxwell J. Smith, Dr Alena Buyx and Dr Florencia Luna.

 

Epidemic Ethics: An Epidemic of Research: publication ethics during a public health emergency

29/06/2020

The urgency and global nature of the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in health research being undertaken at an unprecedented scale. This has been accompanied by a race to disseminate, share and publish data and findings, which in turn has led to retractions, questionable peer review, and pre-publication peer review via twitter, resulting in confusion amongst researchers, regulators, and the public. What has this meant for credibility of science and trust in the scientific enterprise? What are the real costs here? How can publishing models accommodate our need for urgency, research integrity and trustworthiness when they're needed most? This seminar was chaired by Professor Ross Upshur and featured panelists Dr Ezekiel J. Emanuel, and Dr Laragh Gollogly.

 

 


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Epidemic Ethics: Beyond ‘good enough’: How to engage communities with COVID-19 research quickly and effectively

15/06/2020

Response to COVID-19 requires rapid research to develop vaccines, treatments and other kinds of urgently needed knowledge. Previous public health emergencies have demonstrated that good community engagement helps move research forward, ensures it is feasible, relevant, and accepted, and that its findings are taken up. But how can it be done quickly, and in the midst of lockdowns? On this webinar we will explore these questions, and hear from the experts how to bring Good Participatory Practices to COVID-19 research. This seminar was chaired by Professor Lisa Schwartz and featured panelists John Marshall, Ms Noni Mumba and Professor Phaik Yeong Cheah.


Epidemic Ethics: Digital Technologies and their Ethical Application during the COVID-19 Pandemic

01 June 2020

Digital technologies, including those that utilize artificial intelligence, are increasingly being used to aid COVID-19 surveillance and response efforts. While these digital technologies, such as digital proximity tracking technologies, will undoubtedly play an important role, their use raises important ethical and governance concerns. This webinar will discuss the use of digital technologies, the ethical and human rights implications of their use, and possible ways forward in implementing such technologies in a manner that upholds and promotes key ethical norms. This seminar was chaired by Professor Michael Parker and featured panelists Dr Joseph Ali, Professor Effy Vayena and Professor Yi Zeng.


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Epidemic Ethics: COVID-19 Human Challenge Studies: Is it OK for research participants to volunteer to be infected?

18 May 2020

As widespread use of safe and efficacious vaccines for COVID-19 could save many lives and enable governments to ease restrictive control measures, there is an urgent ethical imperative for well-designed and carefully conducted research to develop such vaccines and increase relevant scientific knowledge regarding SARS-CoV-2. Controlled human infection studies, also known as human challenge studies, have been proposed as one means of testing the many vaccine candidates for SARS-CoV-2. While this has attracted considerable attention with wide calls for COVID-19 challenge studies, the research community is divided over their ethical acceptability. This seminar was chaired by Dr Claudia Emerson and featured panelists Dr Euzebiusz Jamrozik, Mr Josh Morrison and Dr Seema K Shah.


Epidemic Ethics: COVID-19 Immunity Passports: Inevitable? Ethical?

04 May 2020

Assuming that recovery from COVID-19 brings a measure of immunity, some have proposed that the detection of antibodies to the SARS-CoV-2 virus could serve as the basis for an ‘immunity passport’ that would enable individuals to travel or to return to work. While health officials and scientists continue to review the evidence on antibody responses to SARS-CoV-2 infection, critical ethical questions related to stigma, health inequities, and the evidential basis for the use of immunity passports must be addressed. This seminar was chaired by Professor Jeffrey Khan and featured panelists Dr Sylvia Briand, Dr Samia Hurst-Majno, and Dr Voo Teck Chuan.

 



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Epidemic Ethics: Why should ethics be front and centre to the response to COVID-19. Is it?

20 April 2020

This is the first online seminar from Epidemic Ethics, the newly launched global community of bioethicists, established to provide real-time, trusted, contextual support to communities, policy makers, researchers, and responders in relation to the ethical issues arising out of global health emergencies. This seminar was chaired by Professor Michael Parker and featured panelists Dr Katherine Littler, Professor Emily Chan, and Professor Jerome Singh.