“There is an ethical imperative to conduct research during public health emergencies, as some research questions can be adequately investigated only in emergency contexts. Since the 2003 SARS outbreak, the 2009-2010 H1N1 influenza pandemic, and the 2014-2016 Ebola outbreak in West Africa, guidance has been produced on how to conduct ethical research during emergencies.” (WHO)

The ongoing establishment of The Global Health Network's 'COVID-19 Working Groups' aims to address the discussion and gather consensus on the emerging COVID-19 research gaps across low-resource settings. This working group is set up to work around ways to enable discussions on Ethics and Community Engagement.

Current work

On 27th May, The Global Health Network supported the first virtual team meeting for the ‘Ethics and Community Engagement Open Working Group’. The meeting was organised in response to questions raised in COVID-19 workshops which highlighted the need for greater discussion of the impact that COVID-19 pandemic and how to conduct research studies following ethical codes and egaging the communities.

Following this first meeting, team leaders met on 20th JulyOver 200 researchers have joined this group. There are so many nations represented in this group that it would be incredibly useful and interesting. 

At the moment 2 projects are ongoing:

  • COVID-19 and vulnerable populations: A discussion paper has been draft by one of the leaders. The rest of the team leaders have now given feedback to the first draft. A meeting was held on the 20th of August to discuss further (view the minutes). One of the leaders has worked to incorporate these and has presented the result to the other team coordinatos. Final version of the paper is being reviewed before submission.
  • Ethical review preparedness in LMICs: The coordination team aim at generating a dialogue to understand the capacity of ethical review carried out by ethical review boards or institutional review boards in global emergencies.  For this, the coordination team proposed  a series of workshops addressing ethical preparedness. Team leaders met on August to stard discussions and shape an outline. A survey was disseminated to the members of the group to decide top 3 priorities (view the results). After identifying the top 3 priorities, the team met and prepared a two day workshop:

"Workshop: Ethics review preparedness during COVID-19: challenges and lessons learned."

2 Day workshop | 10 & 13 November 2020

All member of the working groups were invited to participate. View the details, materials, recording and report.


Database of resources

Database of ethics resources (including guidance and policy) can be found in the Epidemic Ethics HUB.

If anyone has access to ethical guidelines, please send them in!


Discussion Forum

A discussion forum is available for members of this
Working Group to communicate.
Join the discussion and get involved!

Ethics and Community Engagement Resources

As part of the COVID-19 Research Implementation Hub,
on the Ethics and Community Engagement page you will find links to universal ethical standards as well as key resources and tools to ensure ethical research during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Working Documents

Here you are able to find all the working documents from the different WGs for you to comment on  

Become part of this Working Group

If you are interested please register and we will be in touch! We look forward to hearing back from you and hope we can work together to support a strong and equitable global research response during this pandemic.