Clinical Research Ethics Medical Research Is The Term Paper

Length: 5 pages Sources: 5 Subject: Disease Type: Term Paper Paper: #69144768 Related Topics: Ebola Virus, Primate, Animal Research, Environmental Ethics
Excerpt from Term Paper :

Clinical Research Ethics

Medical research is the most sensitive field of research in the entire field of academia. It is governed by several rules, regulations, and ethical standards. For instance, no research endeavor is allowed in case it hurts the life of any human being whether directly or indirectly. Secondly, any research that is to be done must meet environmental conservation measures and should not deride or harm human dignity in any way. Besides, no research in the medical field is allowed in case it results in the extinction of an entire species of the sample used be it plants or animals. Reasonably, this ensures that there is no or little alteration to the ecosystem (Kapp, 2006). The environment that species live in is also guarded against any negative effects of the research. In this regard, any research that is deemed to have harmful effects on the entire, or a larger part of the ecosystem must be done in a separate control environment. However, it must meet all the minimum requirements of the environment on which the species could have been found. Researchers must also ensure that the results received, if they were from an authorized human test, are not revealed in a manner that will show the identity of the person used. Specific laws permit the ethical use of cadavers (Maschke, 2008).

Ethical issues surrounding the search for Ebola treatment

Ebola has proven to be the most lethal diseases to the human race, even more deadly than Aids, which is equally dreaded. The severity with Ebola is that it kills in a very short period, and just like AIDS has no known treatment. However, AIDS is better off because there are measures of reducing its severity by lengthening the life of patients. This is done through the consumption of Anti-retroviral drugs, which reduces the severity of the AIDS-causing virus. Ebola has killed many people in a very short period that it has sent the medical fraternity around the world in a panic mode (Perrone, 2014). Right now, several researches are being done, and others contemplated on coming up with a remedy to the problem. The disease started in Africa sometimes back, and several controversies surround its origin just like AIDS. Some say that the disease emanated from an interaction of humans with monkeys and other primates while some lewd theories point to the notion of it having been manufactured from the laboratory. As seen from the disastrous effects of this disease, several researches have been undertaken, most of which raise serious ethical issues as explained in this study (Maschke, 2008).

American doctors want to perform a study where several drugs will be tested on Ebola patients. The weird thing with this test is that it will be performed on living humans. This contravenes the medical research rule that prohibits the use of human specimen. The second ethical violation of medical research ethics in this test is that some of the human specimen will be kept under no medication as control experiments. This is also a contravention of the medical research ethics. Since Ebola kills virtually all those infected, it will be unfair to deny the suffering human beings that which would have helped saved their lives. Human life is precious that no


If it gets to their knowledge that they are being used as specimen, they will in return refuse to cooperate. Medical tests usually ought to be performed under conditions of privacy and anonymity. However, in the case of the proposed Ebola test, a medical test has been made public. Other medical research ethics violations exist in the sense that people are made to look as though some are less human and that they only suffice to be sacrificed in the need to protect the uninfected ones.

One other unethical issue with the research on Ebola is the evidence of racist motives. As intimated from trusted sources, the tests are to be performed on Africans only. Although the disease is highly prevalent in Africa, having started here, it is not ethically appropriate to have the test strictly fixed on Africans as specimens. There are also claims that there are drugs already discovered that can cure Ebola. However, the complaint with this finding is that the proponents feel that it can only work on whites even without testing on the blacks. There is some little truth to the viability of this drug. It was used successfully on an American doctor who contracted the deadly virus while in Sierra Leone treating patients recently. The doctor survived after the treatment. The fact that it worked on the white does not justify the medics' current intention in any way to have the test conducted on blacks only. If the healing factor for a white man cannot heal a black man, then it means that the drug resulting from the tests performed on the blacks will have no capacity to heal a white. This indeed is a fallacy and an unethical professional undertaking (Perrone, 2014).

Ethical issues in the clinical trials of AZT

The AZT drug was a drug that the America doctors came up with in order to save the lives of the pregnant mothers and their babies. The drugs targeted pregnant women long before they gave birth and to the children after birth. According to the medics, the drug has the ability of reducing the likelihood of the virus getting into the unborn baby by making it mild in the pregnant woman's life. However, the drug was meant to save the life of the baby once born. The intention to save the baby's life is expressed in the fact that the drug is again administered to the baby once born. The worrying thing however is in the fact that the approach and manner of treatment raises a number of ethical issues (Ethics in International Research, 1999).

The first ethical issue that the treatment raises is that it is administered on humans without first establishing whether it can work or not. This puts the lives of the would-be specimen under risk. Consequently, it goes against the ethical requirement that no tests should be performed on living humans. It also violates the requirement that drugs are to be administered on humans only after sufficiently being proved that they are safe to be used on them (Ethics in International Research, 1999).

Similarities and differences between the two tests

The Ebola test shares some similarities with the AZT test. These similarities border on the scientific, ethical, and medical aspects as well. There are also some peculiar differences between the two tests. In either case, the underlying factor is the fact that there is a violation of the ethical standards of research. One similarity that the two tests have is that in both cases, there is a violation of the ethical standards of research. Human life is not being dignified as it should in these two research assignments. Scientifically, they share the similarity that they are both conducted on living humans without having been tested anywhere else. Human beings thus act as specimens in these two cases. The two tests also share a similarity in the sense that they are both performed with the expectation of uncertain results. They both also appear enticing to the potential victims of the disease given the case that the two disease being tried to be treated are both incurable. Medically, they share the similarity that they are administered on the patient directly with the intention of treating them (Petrini 2014). Therefore, human beings are put at risk in both cases.

The difference that the two have is that the AZT test is conducted with the intention of saving the lives of pregnant women and the newborn babies only. The Ebola test is however meant to treat all human beings. Scientifically, the two differ in the sense that they are conducted with different motives. The AZT test is meant to reduce the severity of the AIDS disease on both the mother and the newborn. In contrast, the Ebola test is expected to come up with the ultimate treatment of the scourge. The second scientific difference that the two tests have is that the Ebola test is conducted on blacks only with the scientists having reservations about trying it on whites. In contrast, the AZT test is being carried out on the whites with no actual reservation on the race of the people to be tested for the drug. Medically, the Ebola test differs on the fact that it will be carried out with some human beings acting as control experiments. However, the AZT test is carried out with some degree of certainty hence the medics have no conditions for control experiments using the patients. Both tests fall short of medical research ethics and thus should not be pursued (Kapp, 2006).

The occurrence of deadly diseases like Ebola and AIDS has pushed medical researchers to extreme edges of desperation. The desire…

Sources Used in Documents:


Ethics in International Research. (1999). The Debate Over Clinical Trials of AZT to Prevent Mother-to-Infant Transmission of HIV in Developing Nations. Ethics in International Research

Kapp, M.B., (2006). Ethical And Legal Issues In Research Involving Human Subjects: Do You Want A Piece Of Me? J. Clin Pathol. Apr 2006; 59(4): 335 -- 339.

Maschke, K.J. (2008). Human Research Protections: Time for Regulatory Reform? Hastings Cent Rep. 2008 Mar-Apr;38(2):19-22.

Perrone M. (11/16/2014). Ebola Drug Testing Sparks Ethics Debate: Medical views diverge on how to ethically test Ebola drugs in Africa. The Associated Press

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