Why We (Probably) Must Deliberately Infect

Journal of Law and the Biosciences, 2020 Forthcoming

7 Pages Posted: 3 May 2020 Last revised: 11 Jun 2020

Date Written: May 1, 2020


In the grip of a pandemic of proportions that have not been seen for generations, some have proposed conducting “human challenge” vaccine trials in which healthy volunteers are deliberately infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19. Such trials might substantially speed up the search for a safe and effective vaccine and save many thousands of lives. I argue that such trials are not only permissible, but given reasonable assumptions, they are morally required, subject to some important caveats.

Keywords: coronavirus, COVID-19, human challenge, pandemic, vaccination, bioethics

Suggested Citation

Kolber, Adam Jason, Why We (Probably) Must Deliberately Infect (May 1, 2020). Journal of Law and the Biosciences, 2020 Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3590537

Adam Jason Kolber (Contact Author)

Brooklyn Law School ( email )

250 Joralemon Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201
United States

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