Monday, September 14, 2020

Is it ethical to do Covid research in prisons?

An interview with George Annas and Lauren Brinkley-Rubinstein in Science. Here's how it starts:

Q: What clinical research has been done historically in correctional facilities? Has it been done well?

George Annas: The history is pretty dark. It’s a history of research done without consent, without oversight, and without consequences. It starts in some respects with the Nazis, since Holocaust research—or pretend research, really—was done in prisoners to get scientific information for the German state. Another famous experience was John Charles Cutler’s 1940s experiments in Guatemalan prisons. In those experiments, prisoners were deliberately infected with gonorrhea, syphilis, and chancroid.

Lauren Brinkley-Rubinstein: There are lots of instances of prisoners being intentionally infected with diseases in order to develop new drugs, including malaria and hepatitis C. Horrible things happened at San Quentin [State Prison], including giving prisoners experimental testicular transplants. I think dark is the right word.

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