Testing Of Experimental Ebola Vaccine Raises Ethical, Logistical Questions

News outlets discuss the ethical and logistical challenges surrounding the testing of an Ebola vaccine.

Bloomberg News: Ebola Vaccine Trials May Give Placebo to Those at Risk
“As global health officials rush to begin human trials of two promising Ebola vaccines in West African medical workers, a daunting question remains unanswered: Who gets the placebo injection?…” (10/8).

CNBC: Fast-tracking an Ebola vaccine may prove too slow
“GlaxoSmithKline is speeding up trials and scaling production of an Ebola vaccine, but does not expect to be able to make it in mass quantities for 12 to 18 months, Dr. Moncef Slaoui, chairman of research and development at the U.K. pharmaceutical giant, said Tuesday on CNBC. That’s even before there’s any consideration of when it might potentially be available for use, he said…” (Belvedere, 10/7).

CNN: ‘Extraordinary’ race for Ebola vaccine raises ethical questions
“The ‘extraordinary’ rush to develop an Ebola vaccine is moving forward apace, the lead researcher told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Tuesday, adding that the fast pace may engender ethical concerns about how the vaccine is eventually implemented…” (Krever, 10/8).

Science Magazine: Tough choices ahead in Ebola vaccine trials
“When Ripley Ballou [of GlaxoSmithKline] came to a Geneva, Switzerland, meeting about Ebola vaccines last week, he had a tough message to sell. In the efficacy tests for such vaccines that may start in West Africa in a few months, half of the volunteers should randomly be assigned into a control arm, Ballou argued — a group of people at risk of becoming infected who would not receive an experimental Ebola vaccine. … It was a controversial opinion. Health care workers at the front lines of Ebola, who will serve as the target group in the first efficacy tests, are so vulnerable that giving them anything other than the experimental vaccine seems inhumane and could create tensions, some contended…” (Cohen/Kupferschmidt, 10/7).

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