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Bioethics news.

Surprising Surge of Egg Freezing During the Pandemic Raises Ethical Questions
“As clinics grapple with this unexpected surge in egg freezing (OCP), pre-pandemic concerns about a lack of information on risks, benefits, and harms of OCP have persisted and are likely being exacerbated amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.”
Fate of independent medical ethics decisions in court’s hands
How is medical ethics debated in court? “If a Texas court ruling is allowed to stand, the state’s hospitals and doctors will have no room to make end-of-life care decisions based on independent medical ethics or individual conscience.”
‘What If You Just Don’t Tell Anyone?’
Do we have an ethical responsibility to communicate COVID-19 diagnoses for the purpose of collective health security? This recent piece explores why some may feel motivated to keep their own diagnoses a secret and what effect that may have on the pandemic.
‘You Can’t Treat If You Can’t Empathize’: Black Doctors Tackle Vaccine Hesitancy
Vaccine hesitancy has been an important topic for discussion regarding the #COVID19 vaccine. “How can medical and public health leaders work to overcome this hesitancy? To start with, acknowledge the historical reasons for black mistrust of medicine.”
The Bioethics of Built Health Care Spaces
“Yet, design choices in the built health care environment raise substantive bioethical issues that demand the attention of bioethicists and ethical inquiry. It is time for the built environment to be considered alongside other parameters of care.”
AIs that read sentences are now catching coronavirus mutations
How can AI potentially provide insight into how we understand biological systems? What factors do we need to consider for such an integration? Natural-language processing algorithms now may help read new virus mutations, especially helpful with COVID-19 new variants.
Deciding Who Should Be Vaccinated First
A big component of vaccine distribution has been utilizing ethics to determine vaccine prioritization. Issac Chotiner of The New Yorker speaks with immunologist Barry Bloom to discuss what goes into making decisions on vaccine distribution.
For COVID-19 vaccines, some are too rich – and too poor
“The first year of the Covid-19 pandemic revealed that a country’s wealth would not spare it from the virus. Overconfidence, poor planning and ignored warnings felled the world’s richest nations. But now, money is translating into undeniable advantages.”
The growth of “pharmacy deserts”
With efficacious medications available, ethics considers who has access to these drugs and who is at risk of losing them. Under COVID-19, the pandemic has accelerated the growth of many health disparities in the United States. Recently, there has been an increase in “pharmacy deserts”, where people struggle to fill medications locally because the drugs are no longer covered...
Could new COVID variants undermine vaccines? Labs scramble to find out
The new COVID-19 variants that have popped up in the United Kingdom and South Africa are the new obstacles to tackle in the pandemic. Will current vaccines be able to measure up against new strains? Scientists are seeking an answer.
The Next Phase of Vaccination Will Be Even Harder
Why has vaccine distribution fallen into disarray across the United States? Lack of funding and coordination between state and local governments has left citizens confused about their vaccination opportunities. What will come in year 2 of COVID-19?
The Vaccine Is Not Coming Soon Enough for Nursing Homes
Recent data has shown COVID-19 numbers are trending in the wrong directions for our populations at risk. With the vaccine soon to be rolled out, what needs to be considered in distribution as we look at the effects of COVID-19 on elderly populations?
How Nanotechnology Helps mRNA Covid-19 Vaccines Work
With news of the recent COVID19 vaccines in development, we look to some of the technologies that have enable us to crate innovative drugs and vaccines. Nanotechnology allows important necessary particles get where they need to go.
‘Nobody Sees Us’: Testing-Lab Workers Strain Under Demand
Testing is essential to our fight against #COVID-19. Have you thought about those that give tests to millions of Americans daily? Testing teams are grappling with burnout as these surges approach. How can we consider this population in ethics?
Pfizer says placebo patients will eventually get its Covid-19 vaccine. The question of when is complicated
“Should patients who volunteer to be in Covid-19 vaccine studies, but who are assigned to get placebo, be offered the vaccine? As companies and regulators raced to start clinical trials in the summer, that question was left open…”
‘It will change everything’: DeepMind’s AI makes gigantic leap in solving protein structures
Why is protein structure so important? A recent development with DeepMind AI has made history in determining a protein’s structure. What could this mean for future speed and discovery of drugs? What ethics has to be considered when using AI?
After Admitting Mistake, AstraZeneca Faces Difficult Questions About Its Vaccine
AstraZeneca recently disclosed a key mistake in their vaccine trials. How will this impact the trust and reliability of their results? What ethics needs to be considered regarding this mistake? Can these results now hold up with further testing?
Beyond burnout: For health care workers, this surge of Covid-19 is bringing burnover
“Clinicians again face work that’s risky, heart-rending, physically exhausting, and demoralizing, all the elements of burnout. They have seen this before and are frustrated it is happening again.” What effects will this have on healthcare workers?
Leading genetics experts call for more racial representation in their industry
“As the Covid-19 pandemic has laid bare the racial inequalities in the United States’ health care system, entrepreneurs in genetic research are speaking out about the importance of encouraging community outreach to combat those disparities and increasing diversity inside their own industry.”
The ethical questions that haunt facial-recognition research
Although facial recognition software proves to be useful in certain scenarios, what happens if this technology falls into the wrong hands. Researchers must recognize that unethical facial recognition practice is fundamentally dangerous.
Doctors Are Calling It Quits Under Stress of the Pandemic
“The clinicians also painted a grim picture of their lives, as the pandemic enters a newly robust phase with record case counts in the United States. About half already said their mental exhaustion was at an all-time high. Many worried about keeping their doors open: about 7 percent said they were not sure they could remain open past December...
The story of mRNA: How a once-dismissed idea became a leading technology in the Covid vaccine race
“The liquid that many hope could help end the Covid-19 pandemic is stored in a nondescript metal tank in a manufacturing complex owned by Pfizer, one of the world’s biggest drug companies. There is nothing remarkable about the container, which could fit in a walk-in closet, except that its contents could end up in the world’s first authorized Covid-19...
‘No One Is Listening to Us’
“In the imminent future, patients will start to die because there simply aren’t enough people to care for them. Doctors and nurses will burn out. The most precious resource the U.S. health-care system has in the struggle against COVID-19 isn’t some miracle drug. It’s the expertise of its health-care workers—and they are exhausted.”
Whole-Genome Synthesis Will Transform Cell Engineering
Whole-genome sequencing in synthetic biology is advancing, making the possibilities open in new medicines, treating genetic diseases, and sustainable energy. Scientists must keep in mind the ethics of this technology and how it can be misused.
Ethics of Emergency Use Authorization During the Pandemic
“With the emergency use authorization process in a swirl of controversy, understanding the ethical dimensions of issuing it for a vaccine can provide clarity on the necessity of stringent guidelines from the FDA.”
What Pfizer’s landmark COVID vaccine results mean for the pandemic
Recent news offers compelling evidence that an effective vaccine for #COVID19 is on its way. Although this news provides optimism, many questions are considered. Who gets it first? Could it help quell the pandemic? Questions follow this exciting news.
Covid Infections in Animals Prompt Scientific Concern
What could infections among animals mean for humans, especially in the context of COVID-19? The decision to kill Mink by the Danish government echoes concerns about mutations that occur with coronavirus and its implications for human health. What do we do?
First video game to treat disease gains FDA okay
Digital therapeutics is uncharted waters. In a recent development, “a new product, developed by Akili Interactive Labs, is the first game-based therapeutic to be approved by the FDA for any condition and the first digital therapeutic approved for ADHD.”
After a Breast Cancer Diagnosis, Many Black Women Face Barriers That Delay Their Care
“A recent analysis found that several barriers to health care meant that more Black women delayed initiating treatment after a breast cancer diagnosis…that can have wide-ranging — and devastating — consequences.” Disparities like these need to be solved.
Can lab-grown brains become conscious?
Can clumps of cells and disembodied brains be sentient and how would we know if they are? Brain organoids are widely used in labs that study the brain. Some scientists are raising questions on whether this is creation of consciousness and is also allowed.