Challenge Trials: What Are the Ethical Problems?

Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 46 (1):137-145 (2021)
  Copy   BIBTEX


If, as is alleged, challenge trials of vaccines against COVID-19 are likely to save thousands of lives and vastly diminish the economic and social harms of the pandemic while subjecting volunteers to risks that are comparable to kidney donation, then it would seem that the only sensible objection to such trials would be to deny that they have low risks or can be expected to have immense benefits. This essay searches for a philosophical rationale for rejecting challenge trials while supposing that they have huge benefits and relatively low risks. Although it finds some force in objections to challenge trials grounded in the obligations of researchers to limit the harms imposed on some individuals for the benefit of others, it argues that there is no compelling objection to challenge trials of vaccines for COVID-19—if they have the benefits and risks that have been claimed.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 83,948

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Ethics status of clinical research and trials in developing countries.Yuanyuan Liu - 2015 - Eubios Journal of Asian and International Bioethics 25 (4):124-127.


Added to PP

31 (#404,632)

6 months
3 (#246,247)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Daniel Hausman
University of Wisconsin, Madison

References found in this work

Doctrine of double effect.Alison McIntyre - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
The Ethical Analysis of Risk.Charles Weijer - 2000 - Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics 28 (4):344-361.
The Ethical Analysis of Risk.Charles Weijer - 2000 - Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics 28 (4):344-361.
A decent proposal: ethical review of clinical research.Donald Evans - 1996 - New York, N.Y.: Wiley. Edited by Martyn Evans.

View all 7 references / Add more references