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Free Content Upholding ethical values and human rights at the frontier of TB research

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Until recently, human rights have played a minor role in the fight against tuberculosis (TB), even less so in TB research. This is changing, however. The WHO's End TB Strategy and Ethics Guidance stress respect for human rights and ethical principles in every area of TB care, including research. The desired reductions in TB incidence and mortality are impossible without new tools and strategies to fight the disease. Yet, little suggests that the current state of TB research—including funding levels, evidence being produced, and community involvement—will alleviate concerns related to the availability, accessibility, and acceptability of TB diagnostics, drugs, and prevention in the near future. In this article, we consider these ethics concerns in relation to the right to enjoy the benefits of scientific progress and the right to health. We also reflect on community involvement in research and offer recommendations in the spirit of the rights to health and science, such as involving affected communities in all aspects of research planning, execution, and dissemination. Finally, we argue that states have a responsibility under international law for the continued realization of the right to health. This realization rests, in part, on the realization of the right to science.
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Keywords: End TB Strategy; ethics guidance; right to health; right to science

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI 2: Treatment Action Group, New York, NY, USA 3: Program of Medical Ethics, Peking University Health Science Center, Beijing, China

Publication date: May 1, 2020

More about this publication?
  • The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease publishes articles on all aspects of lung health, including public health-related issues such as training programmes, cost-benefit analysis, legislation, epidemiology, intervention studies and health systems research. The IJTLD is dedicated to the continuing education of physicians and health personnel and the dissemination of information on lung health world-wide.

    To share scientific research of immediate concern as rapidly as possible, The Union is fast-tracking the publication of certain articles from the IJTLD and publishing them on The Union website, prior to their publication in the Journal. Read fast-track articles.

    Certain IJTLD articles are also selected for translation into French, Spanish, Chinese or Russian. These are available on the Union website.

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