Infectious disease emergencies are opportunities to test the efficacy of newly developed interventions—for example, drugs, vaccines, and treatment regimens. Yet they raise many intertwined challenges around politics, logistics, ethics, and study design.
It is essential to advance the discussion of how such products can and should be tested while remaining consistent with the efforts of CEPI, WHO, and others who encourage development and testing of candidate vaccines in advance of emergencies.
This can help disentangle ethical from political and logistical concerns, reduce the time pressure to make a decision, and encourage rational deliberation by future stakeholders who at the time of deliberation do not know what role (which product, which field site) they may be supporting in an actual emergency.
Along with the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society, the Petrie-Flom Center will host a luncheon with Mark Lipsitch, Professor of Epidemiology at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, on Nov. 27. Lipsitch will discuss his work on computer simulations of vaccine trials during epidemics, as well as some of his recent work on the ethics of trials in emergencies, with the aim to stimulate discussion on the intersection of these two topics.