Bioethics meets Ebola: exploring the moral landscape


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Abstract

IntroductionThe Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak in West Africa raised ethical issues about structural disadvantage; the duty to care of healthcare workers; the use and study of unregistered agents; the use of restrictive measures like mass quarantine and the importance of public trust.Sources of dataWHO reports, literature on EVD and ethics.Areas of agreementThe use of restrictive measures and the testing of unregistered agents is ethical if support for individuals or communities is provided.Areas of controversyControversy exists over ethical trial design for the study of unregistered agents and over the limits of the duty to care.Growing pointsThe role of the WHO in outbreak control and research oversight needs rethinking and further support. Solidarity in global health needs fostering.Areas timely for developing researchResearch is needed on how to restore and enhance health systems and public trust in EVD-affected countries.

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