Vaccine and drug trials are slow, to account for safety. But in a pandemic time isn’t just money – it’s lives
The race is on to find a treatment for coronavirus. This race is split between two approaches: the trialling of pre-existing drugs used for similar diseases, and the hunt for a vaccine. In both instances, important ethical decisions must be made. Is it OK to reassign a treatment that comes with side-effects? And with thousands dying from coronavirus every day, is it acceptable to cut corners in the search for a vaccine?
We are really living through something that six months ago would have been a decidedly hypothetical bioethics vignette. In the midst of a pandemic, how do you weigh lost and impacted lives when thinking about Phases I, II and III trials for a vaccine or cure? We plan to write something about this for the subscribers’ area. We have included links to 14 related items.
You may also like to watch this special TED discussion: https://www.ted.com/talks/bill…
But the WHO estimates that a vaccine won’t be ready until June 2021. There are requirements that have to be observed. The gold standard for this kind of research is the clinical trial – administering the vaccine to a large number of people in controlled conditions and measuring its effect. Usually scientists wait 14 months to monitor effectiveness and possible side-effects – which is why we may have to wait until next summer. Coronavirus vaccine trials face the following dilemma: we need treatment quickly but we also need to know it will work. The worst outcome for the medical industry would be a vaccine that either did not work or, worse, was harmful or had side-effects. Globally, faith in vaccines is already at an all-time low.