Protecting research participants
Much valuable research of the past would be regarded as morally dubious today, and today's ethical dilemmas have not been fully resolved either, says Hemang Yadav
- By: Hemang Yadav
In 18th century Britain, smallpox claimed the lives of one in three affected people. Then came Edward Jenner, an English country doctor, whose experiments with cowpox resulted ultimately in the eradication of the disease. However, perhaps more noble than the work of Jenner was the selfless heroism and dedication to social betterment of James Phipps.
Wait a minute. You have never heard of James Phipps? Surely, with an introduction like that, there must be a Phipps Institute, a Phipps Wing in every hospital, or at the very least a Phipps's syndrome? Not so. James Phipps was the 8 year old boy whom Jenner injected with the pus from blisters of a milkmaid thought to have cowpox, a disease similar to smallpox.
Jenner, not satisfied by this act of child experimentation, went on to inject Phipps with the deadly smallpox virus itself just to make sure he really was immune. Then,