Anna Wexler, PhD (Assistant Professor of Medical Ethics and Health Policy, University of Pennsylvania)
Lisa Rasmussen, PhD (Professor, Department of Philosophy, University of North Carolina, Charlotte)
While the effort to develop a COVID-19 vaccine is happening at unprecedented speed, it is not happening fast enough for some. Motivated by the idea that "exceptional times demand exceptional actions," there is a growing movement amongst professional and "citizen" scientists to participate in D.I.Y. vaccine trials. Are these sorts of experiments a way to democratize science or are they just imposing unnecessary harm to participants and the general population? Do these trials even constitute human subjects research? And if so, can they be ethically justified?
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