Medical experiments involving intentionally infecting people with bacteria, viruses, and parasites are surprisingly common. And they are becoming more common worldwide, particularly in developing countries.
The ultimate aim of these “human challenge studies” is usually to test potential new vaccines.
However, because of the risks involved, this kind of research raises difficult ethical questions. For example, who should be infected? And which pathogens would be too dangerous to use?
- Upcoming Seminar: COVID-19 Human Challenge Studies: Is it OK for research participants to volunteer to be infected?
- WHO: Key criteria for the ethical acceptability of COVID-19 human challenge studies
- India: Side Meeting on Current Global Regulatory and Ethical Landscape for Controlled Human Infection Model (CHIM) Studies including Regional/Global Collaborative Guidance