The Ethics of Ebola Trial Drugs: to give or not to give?
Keywords:Ebola, Trial drugs, Ethics, West Africa, COMPASSIONATE USE, STEP-WEDGE, SMALL SCALE TRIALS
The 2014 outbreak of Ebola viral disease in some West African countries, which later spread to the USA and Spain, has continued to be a subject of global public health debate. While there are no yet registered vaccines or drugs on Ebola as they are at different clinical trial phases, moral questions of bioethical significance are emerging. This paper, through a normative and critical approach, focuses on the question of whether it is ethical to give any experimental drugs to Ebola victims in Africa or not. Given the global panic and deadly contagious nature of Ebola, this paper argues on three major compassionate grounds that it is ethical to use experimental drugs on the dying African victims of Ebola. Besides respecting patients and family consent in the intervention process, this paper argues that the use of Ebola trial drugs on West African population will be ethical if it does not violate the fundamental principles of transparency and integrity in human research ethics. Using Kantian ethical framework of universality as a basis for moral action, the paper establishes further that giving trial vaccines on compassionate grounds in the face of Ebola outbreak is ethical. It is only when such drugs are discriminately administered on non-principled bases that it raises more probing moral questions in the current global Ebola scourge.
The Bioethics Online (BeOnline®) Journal is a publication of the Center for Bioethics and Research which publishes peer-reviewed Bioethics-related articles quarterly.
It is a principle of the journal to place emphases on articles with significant theoretical or social bioethical potential impact, backed by rigorous logic and presented in clear and delightful fashion. Articles in this category with global or cross-cultural advantages will be given priority.
Submission of articles is a proposition to transfer the rights to the publishers and only articles with substances not yet published and not being simultaneously presented to any other journal are accepted for considerations. Such articles will also not be presented to any other journal unless and until it is rejected by the journal or formally and expressly withdrawn by the author(s).
BeOnline® accepts no responsibility for article contents and expressly affirms that all conclusions expressed are at best tentative and do not constitute policies or materials for similar use, as such.