Bioethics meets Ebola: exploring the moral landscape

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Abstract

Introduction

The 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 data

WHO reports, literature on EVD and ethics.

Areas of agreement

The use of restrictive measures and the testing of unregistered agents is ethical if support for individuals or communities is provided.

Areas of controversy

Controversy exists over ethical trial design for the study of unregistered agents and over the limits of the duty to care.

Growing points

The 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 research

Research is needed on how to restore and enhance health systems and public trust in EVD-affected countries.

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