Ethical considerations related to the provision of care and treatment in vaccine trials

D. Tarantola, R. Macklin, Z. H. Reed, M. P. Kieny, S. Osmanov, M. Stobie, C. Hankins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Ethical principles of beneficence and justice combined with international human rights norms and standards create certain obligations on researchers, sponsors and public health authorities. These include treatment provision for participants enrolled in clinical trials of vaccines, drugs and other new preventive and curative technologies and methods. However, these obligations are poorly defined in practical terms, inconsistently understood or inadequately applied. Vaccine clinical trial designs normally define standards of prevention applicable to the population where the trial is to take place. The present document addresses specifically the setting of standards applicable to care and treatment in vaccine trials. The lack of clear guidance on how to achieve the optimal synergy between the development of new health technologies, on the one hand, and the promotion and protection of ethical and human rights principles, on the other, is a barrier to the progress of health research and therefore to the advancement of public health. The World Health Organization and UNAIDS have engaged in a series of consultations in Africa, the Americas, Asia and Europe to reflect on how this aim could best be achieved. This document highlights the outcome of these consultations. It proposes a structured approach to consensual decision making in the context of the clinical trial of vaccines against such public health challenges as HIV and newly emerging or threatening epidemics. A structured approach involving investigators and sponsors in a consultative process with trial communities and other stakeholders in research will ensure that the needs and legitimate expectations of trial participants are appropriately met, obligations towards them are delivered and, as a result, ethical research is facilitated in the interest of public health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4863-4874
Number of pages12
Issue number26
StatePublished - Jun 21 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Access to care
  • Best research practice
  • Clinical trials
  • Community consultation
  • Ethics
  • HIV
  • HIV care and treatment
  • HIV vaccines
  • Human rights
  • Standard of care
  • Standard setting
  • Treatment for trial participants
  • Vaccine trials

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • veterinary(all)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


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