Ethical issues surrounding controlled human infection challenge studies in endemic low-and middle-income countries

Euzebiusz Jamrozik, Michael J. Selgelid

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Controlled human infection challenge studies (CHIs) involve intentionally exposing research participants to, and/or thereby infecting them with, micro-organisms. There have been increased calls for more CHIs to be conducted in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) where many relevant diseases are endemic. This article is based on a research project that identified and analyzed ethical and regulatory issues related to endemic LMIC CHIs via (a) a review of relevant literature and (b) qualitative interviews involving 45 scientists and ethicists with relevant expertise. In this article we argue that though there is an especially strong case for conducting CHIs in endemic (LMIC) settings, certain ethical issues related to the design and conduct of such studies (in such settings) nonetheless warrant particularly careful attention. We focus on ethical implications of endemic LMIC CHIs regarding (a) potential direct benefits for participants, (b) risks to participants, (c) third-party risks, (d) informed consent, (e) payment of participants, and (f) community engagement. We conclude that there is a strong ethical rationale to conduct (well-designed) CHIs in endemic LMICs, that certain ethical issues warrant particularly careful consideration, and that ethical analyses of endemic LMIC CHIs can inform current debates in research ethics more broadly.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages12
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 3 Jun 2020


  • controlled human infection
  • endemic
  • ethics
  • global health
  • human challenge studies
  • research ethics

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