Rules are in place to prevent abuses. We may benefit slightly by bending the rules a little this time. However, the cost of bending the rules would be opening the door to potential abuses in the future. And those future abuses may cost way more lives than the Coronavirus can ever dream to inflict. So yes, we may slow down the development of vaccines a little by adhering to the rules. However, by keeping these rules in place, we may save countless people in the end. Keep in mind that many of these rules have been put in place after lessons learned in the hard way and paid with blood and lives.You are not considering opportunity costs. Currently thousands of people are dying of COVID19 all over the world each day.
By insisting we do everything by the book perfectly, you are potentially condemning tens or even hundreds to death needlessly if a few skipped steps means we can bring a viable vaccine out months earlier than doing it exactly by the book.
In my view, the extra risk to the volunteers is pretty much the same as sending firefighters in to tackle a building fire and rescuing people trapped inside.
Would anyone argue that we shouldn’t send in firefighters because there is a real (and actually much higher then the volunteers in the vaccine trials) chance that firefighters might be hurt or killed in the blaze?
My view is that additional risks to trial volunteers is acceptable, so long as the volunteers are fully aware of that going in, and that the steps skipped do not compromise on the safety or effectiveness of the vaccine itself.
We also need to bare in mind that a lot of the steps they are thinking of skipping, like animal trials, are of questionable worth anyways. There have been plenty of examples in medical history where something passed animal trials with flying colours only to then go on to cause massive issues for human trial volunteers at the next stage.
I would classify those as nice to have additional checks rather than being integral steps that directly impact on the effectiveness or safety of the drug in question.
The true acid test has always been human clinical trials. Animal trials just help to eliminate blatantly non-viable drugs so as to minimise human losses during clinical trials.
No need to panic. Given the magnitude of things, the COVID-19 is a still a minor pandemic since it kills only 2-3 % of the infected. The fatality would be even lower if we count the asymptomatic and those with only minor symptoms. However, intentionally making healthy people sick is a huge price to pay. We in the medical field always face the issue of lack of subjects to test, no matter what kind of diseases we study. With this precedence, Should we recruit healthy people to give them tumors? I can certainly justify cancer as another pandemic since it kills millions of people annually, a lot more than the COVID-19. It justifies a little urgency to find medicines, yes? I’m sure some homeless people would be willing to take the risk if the price is right and especially if some of us makes a good argument to convince people to do stupid things.
Should we do it knowing that there is a chance (2-3%) that we may kill a perfectly healthy human being? Yes, the greater good! Keep in mind that the greater good is designed to help individual human beings. And the greater good is comprised of the happiness of many many individual human beings. If we cannot even protect the currently healthy people, what right do we have to talk about the greater good? What right do we have to talk about saving the sick ones if we intentionally get healthy people sick??
And doing the greater good doesn’t mean saving millions of lives in one scoop. It means we start by saving every individual that we can save. And keeping every perfectly healthy person away from harms way. One by one.
Think of the Titanic. If you push a fat guy in your boat out in the ocean, you can save 3 more people. Would you do it? Would you kill one to save 3? I would not. Whoever has already been in the boat, I will do my best to keep them in the boat. With everyone in the boat safe, we will think of ways to save as many still in the ocean as possible. We simply cannot intentionally throw away lives to save others.