Research Topic

Bioethics Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic

About this Research Topic

Bioethics is an integral part of various medical disciplines and ought to be assimilated into day-to-day practice. Traditional sources of medical ethics, such as the Hippocratic corpus or the 'Four Principles' approaches can provide guidance but are not always clear regarding the most ethical path. Emergencies and crises can sometimes challenge this ethical endeavour. Therefore, the guiding ethical principles and rules by which we usually act can be challenged and we may find ourselves simply trying to do as much good as we can. What is usually considered deontological might seem quandary. It is then that the utilitarian approach prevails over the singular one.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been defying medical ethics usually practiced with the luxury of time and resources. Since it is wide spread around the globe, frequent dire encounters have unmasked its face regardless of the country of residence and the availability of resources. It has perhaps unified the shattered and divided world towards one goal; saving lives.

It is then that it occurred to the editors the importance of addressing bioethics during the COVID-19 pandemic. Issues such as patient prioritisation in those infected with COVID-19 have become prescient. Should it be those in the worst conditions, the ones who got sick first, or perhaps those who can financially contribute to their treatment who are prioritised? Can the same frameworks and guidelines applied in well-resourced nations be applied to the poorer-resourced ones? Should the COVID-19 patients be balanced against other patients in need for critical care? In the case of scarcity of resources can medical teams with or without ethicists sign unilateral or universal Do-not-resuscitate (DNR) orders? What about people living in areas of conflicts with limited resources when the simplest protection measures including frequent hand washing with water and soap as well as social distancing are far from being adhered to? How can we balance the pillars of bioethics in view of these pressing queries?

These issues among others deserve to be thoroughly considered and divulged. Accordingly, in this Research Topic we aim to address the following major themes:

• Research and publication in the era of COVID-19;
• Ethical reviews of COVID-19 clinical trials;
• The implementation of clinical trials amid the COVID-19 pandemic;
• Ethics of treating critical care patients during the COVID-19 pandemic;
• The dilemma of healthcare workers with guidelines and precautions in COVID-19 pandemic;
• Medical ethics with allocation of limited resources;
• Palliative medicine and DNR amid the COVID-19 pandemic;
• COVID-19 pandemic in Areas of Conflicts and war zones;
• Frameworks and guidelines among various countries and organizations;
• The varying approaches of different countries to COVID-19;
• Data protection and data sharing issues.

Here, we call for authors from around the world to address the aforementioned themes through original survey studies and perspective and review articles. Studies of frameworks and guidelines including comparisons of international guidelines from different countries around the globe are also welcome.


Keywords: Bioethics, COVID-19, Beneficence, DNR, Data Sharing, Clinical Trials


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Bioethics is an integral part of various medical disciplines and ought to be assimilated into day-to-day practice. Traditional sources of medical ethics, such as the Hippocratic corpus or the 'Four Principles' approaches can provide guidance but are not always clear regarding the most ethical path. Emergencies and crises can sometimes challenge this ethical endeavour. Therefore, the guiding ethical principles and rules by which we usually act can be challenged and we may find ourselves simply trying to do as much good as we can. What is usually considered deontological might seem quandary. It is then that the utilitarian approach prevails over the singular one.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been defying medical ethics usually practiced with the luxury of time and resources. Since it is wide spread around the globe, frequent dire encounters have unmasked its face regardless of the country of residence and the availability of resources. It has perhaps unified the shattered and divided world towards one goal; saving lives.

It is then that it occurred to the editors the importance of addressing bioethics during the COVID-19 pandemic. Issues such as patient prioritisation in those infected with COVID-19 have become prescient. Should it be those in the worst conditions, the ones who got sick first, or perhaps those who can financially contribute to their treatment who are prioritised? Can the same frameworks and guidelines applied in well-resourced nations be applied to the poorer-resourced ones? Should the COVID-19 patients be balanced against other patients in need for critical care? In the case of scarcity of resources can medical teams with or without ethicists sign unilateral or universal Do-not-resuscitate (DNR) orders? What about people living in areas of conflicts with limited resources when the simplest protection measures including frequent hand washing with water and soap as well as social distancing are far from being adhered to? How can we balance the pillars of bioethics in view of these pressing queries?

These issues among others deserve to be thoroughly considered and divulged. Accordingly, in this Research Topic we aim to address the following major themes:

• Research and publication in the era of COVID-19;
• Ethical reviews of COVID-19 clinical trials;
• The implementation of clinical trials amid the COVID-19 pandemic;
• Ethics of treating critical care patients during the COVID-19 pandemic;
• The dilemma of healthcare workers with guidelines and precautions in COVID-19 pandemic;
• Medical ethics with allocation of limited resources;
• Palliative medicine and DNR amid the COVID-19 pandemic;
• COVID-19 pandemic in Areas of Conflicts and war zones;
• Frameworks and guidelines among various countries and organizations;
• The varying approaches of different countries to COVID-19;
• Data protection and data sharing issues.

Here, we call for authors from around the world to address the aforementioned themes through original survey studies and perspective and review articles. Studies of frameworks and guidelines including comparisons of international guidelines from different countries around the globe are also welcome.


Keywords: Bioethics, COVID-19, Beneficence, DNR, Data Sharing, Clinical Trials


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

23 June 2020 Abstract
21 October 2020 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

23 June 2020 Abstract
21 October 2020 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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