Category Archives: Bioethics in the News

If Whole Genome Sequencing is So Cheap and Quick, Why Shouldn’t Everyone Have It Done?

The headline in New York Times Magazine reads: “Scientists can now sequence an entire genome overnight.” This is amazing. It took ten years and $3 billion to do the first mapping of the human genome, all three billion base pairs. Today the entire genome of any individual can be mapped for less than $1000. Why is that important? There are preventative, diagnostic, therapeutic, reproductive, and public health reasons. Continue reading

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Human Microchip Implantation: A Bridge Too Far?

In the past 15 years, discussion and related controversy has taken place about a Radio Frequency Identification Device (RFID) or microchip that can be implanted in human bodies. That chip would contain, store, and update data about us. Might such an implant be a benefit or a risk? Continue reading

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Lessons on eating in a pandemic

Though COVID-19 is not a food-borne illness, the coronavirus outbreak has drastically changed the way many of us eat. According to one survey from mid-2020, 85% of people in the U.S. “have altered their food habits as a result of the pandemic.” Continue reading

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CRISPR Dangers Highlight the Need for Continued Research on Human Gene Editing

The excitement and potential of CRISPR to treat severe genetic conditions by editing disease-causing DNA has taken an unexpected hit. A recent Wall Street Journal article highlighted the unexpected results from a CRIPSR study in which attempts to edit a human gene responsible for blindness resulted in the loss of the entire chromosome from the cells in the embryos. These results echo another study conducted in human cell lines published earlier in 2019. Continue reading

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The White House outbreak: How to criticize irresponsible leaders without getting stuck in the illness blame game

n a twist of fate, there was an outbreak of COVID-19 at a White House celebration of the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett for the Supreme Court of the United States. This elicited a wide range of reactions to seeing a gathering of opponents of strict COVID-19 control measures being hurt by the very pandemic they have downplayed. While others have worried about the moral philosophy of taking pleasure in others’ suffering, or the hypocrisy of evading rules one publicly espouses, I have a different worry. Continue reading

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A COVID-19 Vaccine Won’t Stop the Pandemic

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to maim and kill thousands and devastate countless others, many are pinning their hopes of returning to a life resembling normal upon the development of a vaccine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has even advised states and cities to be prepared to allocate up to 800 million doses of a vaccine in late October or early November. But it is highly unlikely that a vaccine will do much to stop the pandemic and related significant harm. Continue reading

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“There’s no proof that anything works!” The ethics of COVID-19 research

The New York Times Magazine recently published a long-form story about the tension between treating patients with COVID-19 by any means that might improve their chances of survival and recovery, and enrolling them in clinical trials to establish the safety and efficacy of these treatments, thus improving care both for future patients and for those who survived the trial. Continue reading

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Women cannot afford “nice”: The unpaid labor of gendered caregiving

Much has been written about finding meaning in illness. Others have written about finding meaning in caregiving. But taking care of someone else’s s!#t has its own intrinsic meaning, and for much of the time, it’s not all good. Continue reading

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COVID-19 vs. Childhood Immunization? A Bioethics Perspective from Nigeria

This post is a part of our Bioethics in the News series By Felix Chukwuneke, MD Avoiding the Impending Calamity: Our Ethical Responsibility United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has warned that COVID-19 is disrupting life-saving immunization services around the world, putting millions … Continue reading

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COVID-19 Vaccine: “Not throwing away my shot”

In the advent of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, there is an underlying belief in the United States that a COVID-19 vaccine may be the Holy Grail, the silver bullet to assuage the pandemic and open up the quarantine doors. Yet, there is a divide in the United States regarding vaccination acceptance. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports less than 50% of adults receive the vaccine for influenza (flu). In the 2017-2018 flu season, 37.1% received the vaccine, the lowest rate in ten years. Continue reading

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