Ethical research in global health emergencies: making the case for a broader understanding of ‘research ethics’

International Health
Volume 12, Issue 6, November 2020
https://academic.oup.com/inthealth/issue/12/6

 

COMMENTARY
Ethical research in global health emergencies: making the case for a broader understanding of ‘research ethics’
Katharine S Wright
International Health, Volume 12, Issue 6, November 2020, Pages 515–517, https://doi.org/10.1093/inthealth/ihaa053
Abstract
The ethical challenges of global health research become particularly acute in emergency contexts, and are exacerbated by historic inequities and imbalances in power and influence. Drawing on the findings of an international working group established by the Nuffield Council on Bioethics, this article argues for the need to take a broader approach to ‘research ethics’ as traditionally understood, to include the role of ‘duty-bearers’ such as funders, governments, research institutions and journals. An ‘ethical compass’ of three core values (equal respect, fairness and helping reduce suffering) supports ethical reflection at the level of policy, as well as on the ground.