by Bompart F. Research Ethics 2020, 1-10. doi: 10.1177/1747016120931998
Summary: Hundreds of clinical trials of potential treatments and vaccines for COVID-19 have been set up in record time. However, in the absence of a global coordination of clinical research efforts, this remarkable reaction raises serious ethical concerns, including: competition for patients, shortages of existing drugs when diverted for clinical trials, overburdened research ethics committees, overstretched medical staff, and potentially conflicting conclusions from a multitude of heterogeneous trials. These challenges are made worse by the unpredictable evolution of epidemics, the active involvement of political decision-makers in scientific issues and the pressure of social media. While freedom to conduct research must be safeguarded, global health emergency situations would greatly benefit from effective international coordination mechanisms for clinical research.