Advocates Call for Ethical Research for COVID-19 Solutions

April 8, 2020

April 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically transformed how research and development can happen. We have seen potential new COVID-19 treatments, vaccines and other prevention options move into human trials with unprecedented speed and with strong, innovative global collaboration. But at the same time, we’ve heard politicians and national leaders tout unproven treatment and prevention options.

It is essential to state clearly: There are currently no approved treatments, cures, vaccines or other biomedical prevention options for COVID-19. Treatment and prevention options are needed across the globe, and ethical and inclusive research and development is critical to meet this need.

Everyone is impacted by the SARS Coronavirus 2, the causative agent of COVID-19 disease. The virus knows no borders and doesn’t care about our social circumstances. Yet early data is exemplifying that underlying health inequities persist with COVID-19 along racial and socioeconomic lines. Research to find solutions to the pandemic must take into account the social, economic, racial, gender and geographic inequities that exist for both individuals and communities where research takes place and pay particular attention to those who are most vulnerable, in whatever community or country they live.

A recent interview with two French researchers speculating about the possibility of doing COVID-19 research in Africa—and suggesting it might be more efficient to conduct research where people might be “more exposed to the virus”—is repugnant. History is littered with examples of the most marginalized communities being exploited “in the name of research”, and no crisis, no matter how dire, should send us back to the times that have exhibited the worst of our humanity. We know it is possible to conduct ethical research quickly and safely, but only when those participating in research and the communities where the research is happening are central to the process, as codified in the UNAIDS/AVAC Good Participatory Practice Guidelines.

COVID-19 research is an essential, global priority. As HIV and global health advocates, we know that an inclusive, cooperative response is needed to address an international crisis. We are especially happy to see the announcement of the COVID-19 Clinical Research Coalition, a new global effort to accelerate COVID-19 clinical research in resource-limited settings.

As research moves forward, individuals must be given clear information about the potential risks and benefits of study participation; trial communities must be meaningfully involved in developing and implementing study protocols; product developers must make a concerted and genuine effort to ensure historically underrepresented groups be included in clinical trials and have a comprehensive product development plan for all populations who may benefit from a potential product as well as a clear commitment to delivering access for all; and research must follow the World Health Organization’s Good Participatory Practice for Trials of Emerging Pathogens (GPP-EP).

We call on researchers, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, regulators, policy makers, and funders of COVID-19 research to commit to upholding globally agreed-upon ethical and Good Participatory Practice standards for research. We also call on them to commit to ensuring rapid and equitable access to proven COVID-19 treatments, diagnostics, vaccines and other prevention options for people worldwide. If anyone is left behind, everyone is vulnerable.


Advocacy for Prevention of HIV and AIDS (APHA)
Advocates for Youth
African American Health Alliance
Afrocab Treatment Access Partnership
AIDS Action Baltimore
AIDS and Rights Alliance for Southern Africa
AIDS Foundation of Chicago
AIDS Research Consortium of Atlanta
AIDS Treatment Activists Coalition (ATAC)
American Academy of HIV Medicine
amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research
Arcfrancis Foundation
Association of Nurses in AIDS Care
ATHENA Network
Bar Hostess Empowerment and Support Program
Black AIDS Institute
CAMI Health
Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network
Cascade AIDS Project
Center for Public Health, Laws, Social Economic Right and Advocacy
Central Illinois Friends
Centre for Family Health Initiative (CFHI)
Centre for Health Advocacy, Research & Program
Centre Stage Media Arts Foundation Zimbabwe
Champaign County Health Care Consumers
CHANGE (Center for Health and Gender Equity)
CNS (Citizen News Service)
Coalition for Health Promotion and Social Development (HEPS Uganda)
Coalition of Women Living with HIV and (COWLHA) Malawi
Cross World Care Foundation Kaduna
defeatHIV Community Advisory Board
Development for Peace Education
Environmental and Rural Mediation Centre (ENVIRUMEDIC)
European AIDS Treatment Group
Facilitators of Community Transformation (FACT)
Fort Lewis College
Forum for Collaborative Research
Frontline AIDS
Global Black Gay Men Connect
Global Health Liaisons
Global Health Technologies Coalition
Global Network of Black People working in HIV
GSSG : Gemeinnützige Stiftung
Guardian Angels Care and Support
Health GAP
Health Strategies, Solutions & Sytems LTD
HepCoS (Hepatitis collation of Sikkim)
HIV + Aging Research Project–Palm Springs
HIV i-Base
HIV Medicine Association
HIV Modernization Movement-Indiana
HIV Survivors and Partners Network
Home of Joy Foundation
House of Blahnik, Inc.
Howard Brown Health
Hwupenyu Health and Wellbeing Project
Ibis Reproductive Health
Impulse Bangkok
Independent Learner
Integrated Health Organization Rwanda
International Association of Providers of AIDS Care
International Community of Women living with HIV Eastern Africa (ICWEA)
International HIV Partnerships
International Partnership for Microbicides
International Rectal Microbicide Advocates (IRMA)
International Treatment Preparedness Coalition (ITPC) Global
John Snow, Inc. (JSI)
Joint Adherent Brothers and Sisters Against AIDS (JABASA)
Kenya Progressive Nurses Association
Kenya Sex Workers Alliance (KESWA)
Key Population Consortium of Kenya
Kiambu Sex Workers Advocacy Group

Latino Commission on AIDS
Legal Council for Health Justice
LILA Italian League for Fighting AIDS
Love to Love Organization
Men Against AIDS Youth Group
Mobilizing Our Brothers Initiative (MOBI)
MPact Global Action for Gay Men’s Health & Rights
NAM aidsmap
NASTAD (National Alliance of State & Territorial AIDS Directors)
National Association for Supporting People living with HIV/AIDS (ANSP+)
National Association for Young People Living with HIV in Malawi
National Black Gay Men’s Advocacy Coalition
National Coalition for LGBT Health
National Community Advisory Board (NCAB)
National Working Positive Coalition
New HIV Vaccine and Microbicide Advocacy Society (NHVMAS)
Nyanza Reproductive Health Society
Pangaea Zimbabwe AIDS Trust (PZAT)
Parkers Mobile Clinic (Nigeria)
Partners In Health
People Living with HIV (PLAS) LYANTONDE
Planned Parenthood Global
Population and Development Iintiative
Positive Council Switzerland
Positive Voice
Reigners in Life (RIL)
School of Public Health, KIIT University, Bhubaneswar, Indianeswar
Setshaba Research Centre
Shanduko Yeupenyu Child Care
Shanti Project
Shriver Center on Poverty Law
Thai Red Cross AIDS Research Centre
Thailand National Community Advisory Board on HIV Research
The “DIRT” Advocacy Movement
The AIDS Institute
The Aurum Institute
The Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation
The Tuke Institute CIC
The Well Project
Treatment Action Group
Treatment Advocacy & Literacy Campaign (TALC)
Treatment Educat10n Network (TEN)
Uganda Network of AIDS Service Organisations (UNASO)
University of California San Francisco

University of KwaZulu-Natal
University of Oxford
US People Living With HIV Caucus
Vaccine Advocacy Resource Group (VARG)
We Think 4 A Change
Weaker Section Welfare Association
Wings To Transcend Namibia
Zambia Association for Prevention of HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis (ZAPHIT)
Zambia Network of Religious Leaders Living with or Personally Affected by HIV and AIDS – ZANERELA+
Zephyr LTNP Foundation, Inc.

Adeniyi Anthony Opeyemi
Adeshina Oluwafemi
Dr. Aloysius Hanson
Alween Banda
Andrea Weddle
Ángel Luis Hernández
Anna Forbes, MSS
April Kaur Randhawa
Ayodele Oluwakemi Oyetayo
Ayoola Oladosu
Beatriz Grinsztejn
Belinda Ameterra
Beryl Koblin
Bethany Young Holt
Birahim Pierre Ndiaye
Bruce Agins
Butch McKay
Carlos Santiago
Carole Treston
Dr. Carrie Foote
Charles Holmes
Charles Umeh
Chilufya H.
Cosmas Rongoti
Daisy Ouya
Dale Miller
David G. Ostrow, MD, PhD, LFAPA
Dawn Averitt
Deric Kimler
Derrick Mapp
Diane T Williams
Donnie TC Denome
Elizabeth Panahi
Emmanuel F Oyeleye
Eric Nsengiyumva
Ernest Hopkins
Fagbade Kunle
Fatima Abbas

Frank Michael Amort
Gabriel Boichat
Guillermo A Chacon
Henry Gabelnick
Huntly Collins
Ingrid Katz
Jared Baeten
Jean Baptiste Musafiri
Jeff Berry
Jeff Taylor
Jeffrey O’Malley
Jen Balkus
Jennifer Flynn Walker
Jeremy Kwan
Jim Pickett
Joaquim Sérgio Inácio Manhique
Jocelyn Anderson
Jordan Mwabutende Kaisi
Jose M Zuniga, PhD, MPH
Jose Sousa
Judith D. Auerbach
Julia Marcus, PhD, MPH
Julius Kachidza
Kate MacQueen
Katherine Parmalee
Kathryn Stephenson
Kay Marshall
Kaylan Szafranski
Kehinde Macaulay
Kennedy Chungu Palangwa
Kennedy Mupeli
Kennedy Otieno Olango
Kenneth Mwehonge
Kerri Penrose
Khatija Ahmed
Koliswa Konkwane
Krista Martel
Kristina Brooks
Krittaporn Termvanich
Latonya Maley
Laura D Wagner
Laura Mccullagh
Lawrence Ulu Ogbonnaya
Lella Cosmaro
Leon Roets
Lewis Marshall
Prof. Linda-Gail Bekker
Linda Joseph Robert
Lisa Noguchi
Lori Heise
Lori Miller
Luis G. Santiago
Lynn Werlich
Madzouka Kokolo
Manju Chatani
Margaret M. McCluskey
Mark Hubbard
Mark Misrok
Mary Dorsey
Mary Littleton
Massimo Oldrini
Matthew M. Kavanagh
Mbu Hlongwa
Mercy Mutonyi
Michaela Clayton
Michelle Jackson Rollins
Mitchell Warren
Mpume Gumede
Nanette Benbow
Naomi Hill

Nick Armstrong
Nishana Ramdas
Niwat Suwanphatthana
Noblyn Princewill
Ntombizodwa Nyoni
Oghenekome Richard Atoreze
Olarewaju Sunday
Olivier Manigart
Patrick Sseremba
Paul Clift
Pedro Goicochea
Peevara Srimanus
Pinkie Malepe
Rahab Mwaniki
Rena Janamnuaysook
Renee Heffron
Richard Stranz
Robert Palermo
Rochelle P. Walensky
Rodrigues Luis
Rosalind Coleman
Rosemary Musesengwa, PhD
Dr. Rupert Whitaker
Sarah Michienzi, PharmD, BCPS, AAHIVP
Sekatuka Abubaker
Shamal Waraich
Sharifah Kyomukama Nalugo
Sheena McCormack
Silvia Okoth
Simon Collins, HIV i-Base
Simon Odiwuor K’Ondiek
Sinah Teemane
Siriporn Nonenoy
Sofonea Shale
Sorawit Amatavete
Dr. Steffanie Strathdee
Stella Gitia
Stella Kirkendale
Stephani Becker
Prof. Sudhir Kuman Satpathy
Susan Mello
Tamara Wilson
Tanaka Chirombo
Tapati Dutta
Tladi Ledibane
Tonia Poteat
Tyler TerMeer, PhD
Uchenna Ikediobi
Veronica Miller
Veronica Noseda
Wanda Buckner
William Snow
Willis Odek, MSc, PhD
Wim Vandevelde
Winifred lkilai
Yumnah Hattas

Last updated April 23, 2020