Research in global health emergencies: ethical issues

The Nuffield Council on Bioethics published the findings of an in-depth inquiry into the ethical issues relating to research in global health emergencies in January 2020. The inquiry was run by an international working group which gathered evidence and experience from many contributors across the globe, including CCOUC and its director Professor Emily Chan.

Better evidence about what helps or does not help during an emergency is needed in order to improve the response to global health emergencies. Research conducted during an emergency itself plays a crucial role in obtaining this evidence, and helps support the immediate response, as well as learning for the future.

The aim of this report is to identify ways in which research can be undertaken ethically during emergencies, in order to promote the contribution that ethically-conducted research can make to improving current and future emergency preparedness and response.

Professor Emily Chan and her colleagues at CCOUC and JC School of Public Health and Primary Care, CUHK have also contributed to this project by helping publish a Chinese version of the short report. The report in various languages is available here.