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Live attenuated vaccine trials in medically informed volunteers: a special case?
  1. Anthony J Pinching
  1. St Bartholomew's and The Royal London School of Medicine and Dentistry, London


    A group of activist clinicians have offered to volunteer for clinical trials of live attenuated HIV vaccines. This has provided an important conceptual challenge to medical ethics, and to work on the development of HIV vaccines. In exploring these issues, this article highlights how the HIV field has altered the content as well as the tone of ethical discourse. The balance of expertise and authority between research subjects and triallists is profoundly changed, raising questions about the limits of voluntarism and differing perspectives on risk-benefit analysis. Care is needed to ensure that the novelty of the situation does not confuse the central ethical and scientific issues.

    • HIV vaccines
    • research ethics
    • risk-benefit analysis
    • voluntarism
    • consent

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    • Anthony J Pinching is Louis Freedman Professor of Immunology and Fellow, Department of Human Science and Medical Ethics, St Bartholomew's and The Royal London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary & Westfield College, West Smithfield, London EC1A 7BE.