A systematic review of Ebola treatment trials to assess the extent to which they adhere to ethical guidelines

Added June 20, 2019

Citation: Richardson T, Johnston AM, Draper H. A systematic review of Ebola treatment trials to assess the extent to which they adhere to ethical guidelines. PLoS One. 2017;12(1).

Summary: Even in the midst of a disastrous condition, it is critical for clinical trials dealing with infectious diseases to align with ethical guidelines to avert poor ethical oversight.

The majority of the articles that were reviewed adhered with the ethical criteria amended by the three published ethical frameworks (World Health Organization, MSF, Emmanuel et al), but in order to improve on increasing transparencies in accountability, guidelines need to be replenished and the local research sector should be supported.

The primary objective of this article was to assess all Ebola treatment clinical trials carried out during the 2014 West Africa Ebola outbreak. The articles were assessed against multiple ethical frameworks published by the WHO, Médecins Sans Frontièr, and Emmanuel et al. Sixteen studies were reviewed- fourteen studies had approved ethical review while the remaining two studies had either questionable objectives whether the use of medicine was for compassionate use or for clinical trial or did not present any form of ethical approval.

The secondary objective was to initiate a compiled and edited version of the ethical criteria that encompasses all three ethical frameworks. The ten criteria that the author presented suggests encouragement in conducting clinical trials with favorable ethical reviews for any epidemic infectious diseases including the Ebola virus.


Disclaimer: This summary has been written by staff and volunteers of Evidence Aid in order to make the content of the original document accessible to decision makers who are searching for the available evidence on Ebola but may not have the time, initially, to read the original report in full. This summary is not intended as a substitute for the medical advice of physicians, other health workers, professional associations, guideline developers, or national governments and international agencies. If readers of this summary think that the evidence that is presented within it is relevant to their decision-making they should refer to the content and details of the original article, and the advice and guidelines offered by other sources of expertise, before making decisions. Evidence Aid cannot be held responsible for any decisions made about Ebola on the basis of this summary alone.