The Ethics of Pausing a Vaccine Trial in the Midst of a Pandemic: a Conversation with Ruth Faden

September 11, 2020

(STAT News) – The revelation that AstraZeneca paused its clinical trials for a Covid-19 vaccine has focused attention on the company and the clinical trial process. The hold occurred after a participant in the trial developed symptoms consistent with a rare but serious spinal inflammatory disorder called transverse myelitis. To better understand the ethics of vaccine trials in the time of coronavirus, I talked with Ruth Faden, a Johns Hopkins bioethicist with a special interest in vaccine development. Here’s a lightly edited version of our conversation.