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Print version ISSN 0123-9392


SUAREZ-OBANDO, Fernando  and  ORDONEZ, Adriana. Ethics in scientific research: yellow fever, the Reed Commission and the origin of informed consent. Infect. [online]. 2010, vol.14, n.3, pp.206-216. ISSN 0123-9392.

During the Nineteenth Century, research on infectious diseases and microbiology confirmed the disease´s contagionist theory, thus ruling out the miasma theory and promoting the development of techniques to isolate the microorganisms that cause infections and the discovery of mechanisms for the disease´s transmission. Given the difficulty for having animal models for several disease groups, experimentation with humans, including the researchers´ selfinoculation, became necessary. The history of yellow fever research in Cuba is a Public Health´s fundamental and paradigmatic experience and an example of the approach to infectious diseases´ triumph. However, the circumstances underlying the scientific triumphs in the fight against the American Plague tell a less known story, marked by sacrifice and heroism, which generated the foundations for Scientific Research Ethics and the origin of modern Informed Consent. Long before the Nuremberg Code, Walter Reed´s research and Carlos Finlay´s theories interacted to establish a milestone that led to the triumph of scientific medicine and to the origin of respect for strict documentation related to the integrity of volunteers involved in research.

Keywords : Yellow Fever; Informed Consent; History. Ethics.

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