The Experience of Conducting Ethical Review during the Ebola Virus Disease Emergency in Liberia
Creators:Tegli, Jemee K.
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Other Titles:The Experience of Conducting Ethical Review during the Ebola Virus Disease Epidemic in Liberia
Series/Report no.:PREA Conference. Ethics and Humanitarian Research: Generating Evidence Ethically. The Fawcett Event Center, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, March 25-26, 2019. Presentation. Session 14. Oral Presentations 5. Paper C.
Background: The plethora of scientific and ethical debates on critical issues on conduction of research during emergencies are evolving concerns. The Liberian experience is worth mentioning because the Ebola Virus Disease outbreak changed the fragile ethics review structure. Ethics review committees were overwhelmed with clinical trials applications from 2014 through 2016. Studies needed accelerated reviews which placed ethics committees in edgy position. Method: There were seven trials protocols submitted to two ethics boards in Liberia during the period. The University of Liberia Institutional Review Board and the National Research Ethics Board. Two of these were submitted to the ULIRB and the rest to the NREB. The NREB situated under the Ministry of Health was responsible for all clinical trials while the ULIRB was responsible for all social, behavior and anthropological studies. However, both entities established a collaboration for their members to do joint reviews of clinical trials. Findings: Safety concerns of therapeutics and vaccines candidates and comprehension of the research protocols were daunting. Pre-clinical data prior to review were a challenge. PIs were sometime confuse on where to go, i.e., NREB or the Liberian Medicine and Health Regulatory Authority as both were requirements. PIs were always anxious to initiate studies at all cost as they believe that situation was a window of opportunity. Conclusion: During emergencies, there are salient ethical issues that emerged from ethics review oversight to structure and composition. It is important that trials are accelerated through structured ethics review process once the requirements are met by researchers.
AUTHOR AFFILIATION: Jemee K. Tegli, University of Liberia-Atlantic Center for Research & Evaluation (UL-PIRE) Africa IRB, Liberia, firstname.lastname@example.org