In collaboration with First Clinical Research, each month we share a new question and accompanying anonymous survey, designed to encourage critical thinking about questions in clinical research and highlight discussion generated by the prior month’s question.

The zombie apocalypse has arrived and is threatening the survival of the human race. Researchers have developed a treatment that might restore zombies to normal health and non-infectivity. There is a reasonable probability that the treatment will work as a cure but not as a protective measure. Failure of the treatment would be fatal for the subject. Potential study participants will not have the capacity to give consent. To the contrary, they will vigorously resist participation. No other possible treatments are known. There are no functioning governmental authorities, so the fate of humanity rests on your IRB. Time is of the essence.
As a member of the IRB, will you vote to approve the study? Answer this question and more here.
Last month's question tasked respondents with questions about whose welfare should be considered in a study of mother-child bonding. Read the full report.

The Question of the Month also appears on the IRB Forum. The IRB Forum is a robust community of IRB professionals engaged in an ongoing discussion of the latest issues and questions that arise for human subjects protections professionals. An account is free, and gives you access to an invaluable resource—the insight of your peers.

PRIM&R thanks Norm Goldfarb of First Clinical Research for allowing us to share this feature with our community!

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2 thoughts on “Clinical Research Ethics Question of the Month: December 2017

  1. Rayah

    Yes. We are talking about zombies here, people. It is either take the chance and possibly restore order to the world or spend the rest of our lives living like post apocalyptic hunter/gatherers.

  2. Bev Taft RN, MSN, LNCC

    No. I do not believe in the zombie revolution.
    But trying to think of this as another viable disease among us, such as pneumonia. If there was a potential cure, then yes I would consider approval. Then you have to look at the other side, this would not be a protective measure. One would have to have pneumonia. That makes sense again, can’t cure what they don’t have.

    With this scenario, the “subject” cannot and possibly would fight the treatment as a zombie. Zombies are not human beings in their current state, so it would be NHSR.

    My goodness there are a lot twists and turns in this. No governmental oversight so the FDA would not be overseeing a potential cure compound?

    I am going to say no and disallow this study. Mainly because zombies are not classified as humans so NHSR.