In the race to develop a COVID-19 vaccine, ethical concerns abound

cancer a
HeLa cells. Credit: HBO

How do we ethically test it in people? Can people be forced to get the vaccine if they don’t want it? Who should get it first?

Tackling those questions demands that a [COVID-19] vaccine exist. But a slew of other ethical questions arise long before anything is loaded into a syringe. In particular, some Catholic leaders in the United States and Canada are concerned about COVID-19 vaccine candidates made using cells derived from human fetuses aborted electively in the 1970s and 1980s. The group wrote a letter to the commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in April, expressing concern that several vaccines involving these cell lines were selected for Operation Warp Speed — a multibillion-dollar U.S. government partnership aimed at delivering a COVID-19 vaccine by January 2021.

Related article:  'It's the only strategy': Coronavirus pandemic cannot end without herd immunity

The group urged the FDA to instead provide incentives for COVID-19 vaccines that do not use fetal cell lines. But, as virologist Angela Rasmussen of Columbia University pointed out on Twitter, those other vaccines are being developed with scientific input from research using HeLA cells — which come with their own thorny ethical issues of consent.

Follow the latest news and policy debates on agricultural biotech and biomedicine? Subscribe to our newsletter.
[Bioethicist Yolonda Wilson] notes that it’s an opportunity to help researchers think more about the history and context of their work. “It’s important not to act as though the science that happens is divorced from the communities in which it happens.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Read the original post

Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
GLP Podcasts
Infographic: Here’s where GM crops are grown around the world today

Infographic: Here’s where GM crops are grown around the world today

Do you know where biotech crops are grown in the world? This updated ISAAA infographics show where biotech crops were ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.

We Noticed You Have An Ad Blocker On.

Can you help fund the GLP? We're a nonprofit, so it's tax-deductible.

glp menu logo outlined

Newsletter Subscription

Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend