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Asst Prof Owen Schaefer

Assistant Professor
Centre for Biomedical Ethics
Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore  

G. Owen Schaefer is an Assistant Professor at the Centre for Biomedical Ethics, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore.  He received his DPhil in Philosophy from Oxford University, and has completed fellowships at the National Institutes of Health’s Department of Bioethics and the Oxford Centre for Neuroethics.  His primary interests lie in the ethics of developing novel biomedical technologies.  He has written on big data, research ethics, gene editing, human enhancement, precision medicine, vaccine allocation, assisted reproduction and in vitro meat.

Panel Discussion

Emerging COVID-19 Hot Topic: Special Review for COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented global challenge requiring intensive commitment of healthcare resources, public health interventions, private investment and geopolitical coordination. A central pillar to combatting the pandemic has been rapid research and development into diagnostic, therapeutic and prophylactic tools for COVID-19. This urgency has not meant that ethical standards for research should fall or be set aside, but rather that the processes for ethical review of research must be accelerated and streamlined to whatever extent feasible.

In this context, healthcare institutions in Singapore adapted existing ethics review structures to create a new domain-specific IRB specifically to review COVID-19 related studies in a rapid manner. This panel discussion will summarize this special review process, reflecting on what was achieved, challenges emerged along the way, and lessons for the future of ethics review – both for potential global health emergencies, as well as more routine biomedical research.

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