IRB's add a certain and authentic stamp of approval for research and clinical trials. This system is by no means perfect, as there are countless examples of how IRB's failed, but in this particular instance where a Central African country may be exposed to a vaccine, this oversight is deemed necessary. The IRB needs to understand what is the purpose of these tests and how the population of this vulnerable nation may benefit from this research. Historically, this region of the world has been used as a virtual Petri dish for Western scientists wishing to test their new medical breakthrough. Caution is necessary.
The ethical conflicts are obvious. There are profit motives in mind for the vaccine, as they are valuable commodities in many parts of the world. The IRB can act as an ethical buffer by creating a circumstance where the research can be done humanely, and with a clear understanding of the vulnerability people who would receive this vaccine must be properly informed. This idea of information is quite vague and there is an opportunity to distort the truth when dealing with different cultures and language. Respect for another's free will is important in this example and researchers need to take extra precaution to prevent these issues of informed consent.
Consent is another tricky word, and it is important that reason and temperance is applied by IRB members in ethically and morally constructing the boundaries for any such vaccine trial on a vulnerable population. Taking advantage of others for personal gain, can work out in the short-term, but long strategic aims for any organization should revolve around building a solid ethical foundation rested on the ideals of truth and fairness.
Since the idea of…
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