Immunity passports: a privacy nightmare or the key to ending lockdowns?

The ethics of immunity passports is certain to become a focus for national debates as coronavirus lockdowns ease up.

Estonia has started to test one of the world’s first digital immunity passports, according to a report in Reuters. It enables people to share their immunity status with an employer, using a temporary QR-code generated after digital authentication. “Digital immunity passport aims to diminish fears and stimulate societies all over the globe to move on with their lives amidst the pandemic,” said Taavet Hinrikus, of Back to Work, a non-government group which is developing the passport.

China is also implementing… MORE





‘Don’t call them heroes’

Healthcare workers in the coronavirus epidemic are everywhere being praised as heroes (except Russia – see the next story). They are risking their lives; they live in isolation; many become sick; some die. But labelling them as heroes a good idea, asks a feature in Stat.

First of all, “The hero image burns so bright that it eclipses any light shining on the failures of the system.”

It also masks the post-traumatic stress that many will experience. “The white noise of the hero complex deepens, widens, and obscures the human cost of this burnout epidemic.”

And then, “There is… MORE





Nobody calls them ‘heroes’ in Russia

Over the past few weeks TV news has often featured public appreciation of healthcare workers, whether it was Prime Minister Boris Johnson thanking nurses of the National Health Servicer for saving his life or locked-in Madrileños banging pots.

No displays of gratitude have come from Russia. There doctors are on the nose, regarded with suspicion as whining money-grubbers. According to a report from Associated Press:

Antipathy toward the medical profession is widespread in Russia, said social anthropologist Alexandra Arkhipova, who studies social media posts peddling virus conspiracy theories. More than 100 theories she studied say doctors diagnose COVID-19… MORE





Ukraine surrogacy agency faces criticism

The surrogacy agency which released a video showing dozens of babies stranded in a hotel in Ukraine has attracted international attention and domestic criticism.

Lyudmyla Denisova, the human rights ombudsman for the Ukrainian parliament, said the video showed the country had a “massive and systemic” surrogacy industry which offered a high-quality product for international clients. She said that more than 100 babies are awaiting their parents who commissioned them.

Unsurprisingly, perhaps, two of the country’s leading Catholic clerics, Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk of Kyiv-Halych, and Archbishop Mieczyslaw Mokrzycki of Lviv, took advantage of the publicity to denounce the practice.

“They were… MORE





‘We’re all vitalists now’, Oxford ethicist tells utilitarians   

In a characteristically provocative article, Oxford medical ethical ethicist Charles Foster observes that, in the current emergency, policy-makers the world over have ignored utilitarian solutions. “The world’s governments are all, it seems, ruled by a rather crude vitalism. Livelihoods and freedoms give way easily to a statistically small risk of individual death.” How will this eventually affect our views on assisted suicide and euthanasia, he asks.

I’m not considering here the appropriateness of any government measures, and simply note that whatever one says about the UK Government’s response, it has been supremely successful in generating fear. Presumably that… MORE





Can Planet Earth support 108 billion people?

Here at BioEdge, we like to keep tabs on proposals for advancing the cause of transhumanism. The online magazine Vice features a look back in history at a wildly ambitious proposal from late 19th Century Russia, a bubbling cauldron of weird ideas.

Nikolai Fyodorovich Fedorov, a librarian and Russian Orthodox philosopher, had a simple proposal: resurrect everyone who has ever lived -- which, today, is about 108 billion people. Rejuvenating the living and resurrecting the dead was, he said, “the common task” of humanity. His ideas gave rise to the philosophy of Russian cosmism.

Fedorov was a respected… MORE





Coronavirus quotes, May 23  

Is Anthony Fauci a modern Galileo speaking truth to power? | Mario Livio, an astrophysicist and author of  “Galileo and the Science Deniers”, 2020. Stat.

Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the top infectious disease expert in the U.S., now finds himself fighting a “Galilean” fight in an effort to slow down an uninformed rush to open the country.

Like any good scientist, Fauci clearly acknowledged at a May 12 Senate hearing called “Safely Getting Back to Work and Back to School,” that, “I have never made myself out to be the ‘end-all’… MORE





How should we tackle conspiracy theories about Covid-19?

Mikki Willis interviewing Dr. Judy Mikovits in Plandemic

Back in 1890, the European edition of the New York Herald reported that the new-fangled electric light might be responsible for a global influenza outbreak. After all, “the disease has raged chiefly in towns where the electric light is in common use,” it said, and went on to note that the disease “has everywhere attacked telegraph employees.”

Not so different from today, except that these speculations would appear on YouTube and Facebook.

People have an existential need for both truth and safety, so it’s not surprising that uncertainty… MORE





Should COVID-19 vaccination be compulsory?

As researchers around the world race to develop a COVID-19 vaccine, bioethicists are once again debating the ethics of compulsory vaccination. When a vaccine for coronavirus finally becomes available, governments will need a strategy to ensure that a sufficient portion of the population is immunised to achieve herd immunity. 

Strategies for promoting vaccination range from nudging and incentives through to the withholding of social benefits and services from non-vaccinating individuals and even compulsory vaccination. In 2017, Italy introduced compulsory vaccination policy for ten vaccines, with parents facing a €500 fine if they failed to immunise their… MORE





Ethical questions surround Parkinson’s stem cell experimental treatment

George Lopez, the Parkinson's patient who gave $2 million for Parkinson's / YOUTUBE

Reprogramming a patient's own skin cells to replace cells in the brain that are progressively lost during Parkinson's disease has been shown to be technically feasible, reports a team of investigators from McLean Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital in the most recent issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

"Because the cells come from the patient, they are readily available and can be reprogrammed in such a way that they are not rejected on implantation. This represents a… MORE




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