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Saskia Wilhelmy, Rebecca Ulrich & Dominik Groß: Just two Sides of the Same Coin? Ethical Issues and Discourses on COVID-19 and Ebola. A Comparative Literature Analysis. [Abstract]

Infectious diseases pose a continuing threat to human life. In the case of pandemics, they can also grow into massive challenges for society as a whole – not only from a medical but also from an ethical perspective. This article takes the current COVID-19 pandemic as the occasion for an empirical medico-ethical analysis. It explores the ethical dimensions and discourses on COVID-19 and the Ebola epidemics (West Africa, Democratic Republic of Congo). Additional attention is paid to the question whether and to what extent the ethical issues raised differ and how the possible disparities can be explained. Using a methodological two-step approach (systematic literature review; qualitative content analysis), we were able to identify nine categories that map the ethical dimensions of recent outbreaks of these two diseases: (1) Prioritization of health, (2) Equitable access to resources, (3) Adequate information, (4) Health worker vulnerability, (5) Stigma and discrimination, (6) Research ethics, (7) Measures restricting freedom, (8) Global health justice, (9) Environmental ethics.

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