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Bioethics news.

When AI in healthcare goes wrong, who is responsible?
“Data encompasses problems that can occur when machine learning is trained on bias…AI applications in healthcare often involve robots working with humans.” AI can be trained on information that may further propagate discrimination on the basis of race and machine learning. Where does the blame fall when these applications do more harm than good? Can AI effectively be...
How the CDC and others are failing Black women during childbirth
“Black mothers are often not listened to when they report signs of possible complications of pregnancy and birth…traumatic birthing experiences are so common that 1/4 of Black women report disrespect and abuse in the hospital.”
More migrant women say they didn’t OK surgery in detention
Women’s lack of consent raises many questions regarding reproductive ethics. A review of medical records has revealed allegations that a healthcare provider performed procedures that were not fully understood or wanted by detained immigrants. Although some procedures were needed based on the status of the patient, procedures given without consent or full understanding is the basis for many legal...
Moderna Shares the Blueprint for Its Coronavirus Vaccine Trial
“Two drug companies that are leading the race to develop coronavirus vaccines bowed to public pressure on Thursday, abandoning their traditional secrecy and releasing comprehensive road maps of how they are evaluating their vaccines.” The document suggests that there may not be enough information to determine if the vaccine is effective by the year’s end.
How COVID-19 can damage the brain
Scientists are constantly researching to find news ways in which COVID-19 may affect the body. Evidence for neurological effects due to infection has been accumulating. Why are these symptoms appearing? Who is at risk?
Ethical or exploitative—should prisoners participate in COVID-19 vaccine trials?
“Prisoners have a heavy burden of COVID-19…but prisoners have also been excluded from the trials out of concern that they might be coerced into participating or exploited if they do.” Efficacious interventions are crucial for vulnerable populations. The debate on whether or not to include prisoners in vaccine trials relies heavily on current knowledge of vaccine effects and the...
AstraZeneca resumes Covid-19 vaccine trials in the U.K.
“A United Kingdom-based Phase 2/3 study testing a Covid-19 vaccine being developed by AstraZeneca has been restarted… news comes four days after the disclosure that it had been paused because of a suspected serious adverse reaction.” AstraZeneca came into the news recently due to a pause in their clinical trial from suspected reactions in a participant. What does this...
The U.S. must do some heavy lifting to prepare for heritable genome editing
What is the future of genomic editing? Committees reported on how to proceed with genomic editing, but eventually the process will be up to the individual country. What policy changes would need to happen in the U.S. for this future?
Fair Compensation for Rare Vaccine Harms
“As multiple vaccine candidates enter clinical trials, one important question is how to compensate the rare cases of serious vaccine harm if any arise.”
AI standards launched to help tackle problem of overhyped studies
AI could revolutionize all aspects of healthcare, but what are the implications? Experts have come together to compile standards for clinical trials that include AI. Can these standards will prevent harm and increase quality of research?
The controversial company using DNA to sketch the faces of criminals
“Combining DNA samples is the core of forensic genetic genealogy. The process rests on the simple statistical rules of genetics.” With the rise of forensic genetic profiling, ethical concerns include impacts on communities of color and more. Although this genetic profiling has aided in long-abandoned cases, consumers question the privacy and permissions of third-parties.
The coronavirus is mutating — does it matter?
“Researchers still have more questions than answers about coronavirus mutations, and no one has yet found any change in SARS-CoV-2 that should raise public-health concerns, Sheahan, Grubaugh and others say. But studying mutations in detail could be important for controlling the pandemic.”
Is Telemedicine the Future of Palliative Care?
Access to palliative care has led to increased quality of life and reduced caregiver burden. Can telehealth provide the foundation for a future of expanded palliative care access? Examiners consider Medicare policy and more. Medicare policy on coverage of telemedicine has been dynamic; however, researchers see the effect of such palliative care expansion and the implications it has for...
Dozens of hospitals poised to defy FDA on plasma therapy for COVID-19 patients
The debate over plasma therapy continues on. Should its use become widespread? Although it has been authorized for use from the government, many hospitals grapple with this therapeutic due to need for further study.
Dermatology Has a Problem With Skin Color
“Dermatology, the medical specialty devoted to treating diseases of the skin, has a problem with brown and black skin. Though progress has been made in recent years, most textbooks that serve as road maps for diagnosing skin disorders often don’t include images of skin conditions as they appear on people of color.” – Roni Rabin Medical disparities exist on the...
As Covid-19 Depletes Blood Supplies, Scientists Test an Alternative
Is artificial blood the future? The search for viable blood substitutes has eluded scientists. “Now, helped by advances in stem-cell research and interest from investors, scientists are closer than ever to coming up with a blood substitute.” Nora Eckert of The Wall Street Journal describes a potential future after COVID-19 related depletes in supplies.
Russians Publish Early Coronavirus Vaccine Results
The race for a COVID-19 vaccine has been on the forefront of many research pursuits, and bioethics is crucial when considering vaccine development and distribution. Clinical trials progressing through defined phases allow developers to gauge the effect of the vaccine in the larger population and study any effects of long-term utilization. Carl Zimmer of The New York Times provides...
Still too soon to try altering human embryo DNA, panel says
“It’s still too soon to try to make genetically edited babies because the science isn’t advanced enough to ensure safety, says an international panel of experts who also mapped a pathway for any countries that want to consider it.” Nearly two years after the world was shocked from news of the first gene-edited CRISPR babies in China, a panel of...
The Most American COVID-19 Failure Yet
Contact tracing has proven to be a bubbling pot of reactions that range from fostering distrust in the public health system and government by Americans to a necessary process that has proven to be effective in combating the pandemic abroad. Olga Khazan in The Atlantic writes about three main reasons that feed a lack of contact tracing effectiveness in...
Self-Experimentation in the Time of COVID-19
In this news and opinion article in The Scientist, Amanda Heidt paints a poignant visual of the extent to which scientists will go in their race for the COVID-19 vaccine. What is known in this history of medical self-experimentation?
Expert panel lays out guidelines for germline editing, while warning against pursuit of ‘CRISPR babies’
Nearly two years after the birth of the first “CRISPR babies” stunned the world, an international group of experts on Thursday warned such human experimentation — in which the DNA of embryos is edited before starting pregnancies — should not be conducted because of unresolved scientific and ethical issues. But the group’s eagerly awaited report detailed the steps that...
Toward Fair and Humane Pain Policy
Pain policy is not drug policy. If we want to improve the lives of people in pain and compress the terrible inequalities in its diagnosis and treatment, we have to tailor policy to the root causes driving our problems in treating pain humanely and equitably.
We Can’t Forget the Nation’s Other Epidemic
The Covid-19 pandemic threatens to harm efforts to reduce drug overdose deaths in two ways: mundanely—as with practically every other issue in the world right now—by simply overshadowing it; but worse, by exacerbating it.
Do-It-Yourself Vaccines for COVID-19
Some scientists are self-administering an untested product. Is doing so legal or ethical?
Did disparities kill the king of Wakanda? Chadwick Boseman and changing landscape of colon cancer demographics
People across the country are mourning the death this weekend of actor Chadwick Boseman, who died from colon cancer at the age of 43. Boseman’s death is reinvigorating discussions about the rising incidence of colon cancer in young people, meaning those under age 50, as well as about racial inequities in colon cancer screening and deaths from the disease.
Two P.R. Experts at F.D.A. Have Been Ousted After Blood Plasma Fiasco
The agency’s chief spokeswoman, Emily Miller, was removed from her position just 11 days into the job.
Are Physicians Hypocrites for Supporting Black Lives Matter Protests and Opposing Anti-Lockdown Protests? An Ethical Analysis
The United States has seen a dramatic rise in social unrest drawing large gatherings of protesters at a time when public health officials and physicians are urging people to socially distance to limit the spread of a deadly pandemic. Two distinct protest movements, anti-lockdown and Black Lives Matter, have garnered remarkably different responses from physicians and their professional organizations.
Colleges Weigh Transparency Versus Privacy When It Comes to Covid-19 Data
Tug of war between providing information and protecting identities creates a patchwork of reporting that some students say puts their health at risk
F.D.A. Allows Expanded Use of Plasma to Treat Coronavirus Patients
The move came on the eve of the Republican convention and after President Trump pressed the agency to move faster to address the pandemic.
Nurses Are on the Virus Front Lines. But Many Schools Don’t Have One.
Less than 40 percent of the nation’s schools had a full-time nurse before the pandemic, and there has been no national effort to hire more.