WHO – Meeting of the Ethics Working Group on Ebola Interventions [20 – 21 October 2014, Geneva]

Meeting of the Ethics Working Group on Ebola Interventions
20 – 21 October 2014, Geneva, Switzerland
:: Summary of the Meeting pdf, 218kb
A 1 ½ day meeting was held to map out the ethical issues related to the design of trials to evaluate the safety and efficacy of candidate therapeutic agents for use in the current Ebola Virus Disease outbreak in West Africa. Ten members of the Ethics Working group were assisted by methodologists, statisticians, drug regulators, researchers, and ethics committee chairs/administrators to tease out the ethical issues associated with the different designs. The agenda and the LoP is attached/can be found here.
The meeting was informed by work done on this issues in prior Working Group meetings.

The Ethics Working Group reiterated that the focus on therapeutics at the meeting, did not supersede the requirement to focus efforts on bringing the epidemic under control with enhanced attention and resources for public health measures. Nor did it indicate that other forms of clinical, public health, anthropological, sociological or operational research is without merit in the current outbreak. Many of these types of research can be handled with well understood study designs and oversight mechanisms.

Six case studies on the different trial designs for therapeutics were used to illustrate the ethical dimensions related to their implementation in the context of the Ebola epidemic. The case studies allowed the regulators, researchers, ethics committee chairs/administrators and the representatives of pharmaceutical companies to discuss various aspects of the study designs, the advantages and disadvantages of each, and identify the issues that were relevant for consideration in an ethical analysis during their conduct in an outbreak situation in the affected countries. On day two of the meeting, the members of the Ethics working Group – through a deliberative process – reached consensus on some aspects and identified other aspects for further development through e-discussions.

The Final Meeting Report will summarize the areas of consensus reached by the group and outline a set of outstanding questions that require further attention.
:: Agenda pdf, 206kb
:: List of Participants pdf, 392kb