On December 8, 2014, HHS is publishing a notice announcing that the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues is requesting public comment on ethical considerations related to public health emergency response, focusing on the current Ebola virus disease (EVD) epidemic. In particular, the Commission is examining:

  • U.S. public policies that restrict association or movement (e.g., quarantine), which have been proposed and/or employed for health care workers and military personnel returning from countries affected by EVD in western Africa;
  • The ethics of placebo-controlled trials in the context of public health emergencies, and the EVD epidemic specifically, where the tested drug might be effective against the disease in question; and
  • The ethical considerations relevant to collecting and storing biospecimens during a public health emergency such as the EVD epidemic, and sharing these specimens and associated data internationally for future research.

Comments will be accepted for 60 days after publication.