Research Ethics Roundup: New Gender Requirements for Animal Research, Accelerating Development of a Zika Vaccine, and More

This week’s Research Ethics Roundup explores how a disastrous French clinical trial is leading to calls for improved data sharing, new National Institutes of Health (NIH) requirements for biomedical research, and the NIH’s prediction on when a Zika vaccine may go to trial are also highlighted.

A Fix For Gender-Bias in Animal Research Could Help Humans: In this piece for NPR, Rae Ellen Bichell reports on the NIH’s new requirement that NIH-funded researchers use both male and female animals when conducting biomedical research. However, some scientists caution that the differences between male and female animals cannot always be explained by biology and that social dynamics must be accounted for when reviewing the results of biomedical research done on animals.

ZikaNIH Officials Accelerate Timeline for Human Trials of Zika Vaccine, Saying They Will Now Begin in the Summer: Ariana Eunjung Cha of The Washington Post discusses how government scientists have been able to build off earlier research done on dengue and the West Nile virus to develop a vaccine that could work against Zika. A small trial will likely be conducted this summer followed by a bigger trial in 2017.

Researchers Question Design of Fatal French Clinical Trial: In this piece for Nature, Ewen Callaway and Declan Butler report on the push by European scientists for more data to be released from a French clinical trial that left one subject dead and five others in the hospital. Sheila Bird, a University of Cambridge biostatistician, told Nature that releasing information from the trial could help human subjects in other ongoing related trials.

European Union FlagNeed to Speed Up the Implementation of New Clinical Trial Rules: New Europe reports on the European S&D party’s request that the European Union “speed up the implementation of new clinical trial rules, as [the new rules] will force the researchers to publish the results of the Phase 1 trials.” The lawmakers cite the recent death of a human subject in the phase 1 part of a French clinical trial as the reason behind their request.