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Some standards of study design may be affected by the pandemic context

  • Ethical decision making assumes that such judgements will be based on current scientific knowledge, that effectiveness of interventions is carefully assessed, and that transparency of the process is evident. CDC Ethics in Pandemic Flu
  • Because the scientific basis for efficacy of particular interventions continues to be studied and models projecting the course of a pandemic are being investigated, sound scientific evidence for proposed interventions may not currently exist. The current knowledge basis should serve as a foundation for ethical guidelines and a commitment to ongoing scientific and ethical evaluation of interventions should be made. CDC Ethics in Pandemic Flu
  • Consider and, where possible, address determinants of health that reside outside a person’s genetic endowment and personal behaviors, including the circumstances in which people grow, live, work, and age. These determinants might include individual resources, community resources, hazardous exposures, and opportunity structures. APHA Code of Ethics, 4.5.7.
  • Exposing research participants to risk is ethically unacceptable if the study is not designed in a manner capable of providing valid results. WHO Ethics in an Outbreak
  • In clinical trials, the appropriateness of features such as randomization, placebo controls, blinding or masking should be determined on a case-by-case basis, with attention to both the scientific validity of the data and the acceptability of the methodology from which participants will be drawn. WHO Ethics in an Outbreak
  • In studies relying on qualitative methods, the potential benefits of using methodologies such as focus groups or of interviewing traumatized victims should be balanced against the risks and burdens to the individuals involved. WHO Ethics in an Outbreak
  • Research on experimental treatments and preventative measures should seek to identify any sex- or gender-related differences in outcomes. WHO Ethics in an Outbreak
  • Ensure that investigators use resources efficiently and effectively. APHA Code of Ethics, 4.2.3.
  • Include impartial mechanisms for assessing the ethical appropriateness of public health policies and plans after they have been implemented, as well as mechanisms for adjusting such policies and plans to ensure continued adherence to ethical standards.  APHA Code of Ethics, 4.5.10.