Ethical obligations of health care providers include respecting patient decision-making and providing adequate information for treatments and clinical tests. Non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT) – a new prenatal test that checks whether a fetus has Down’s syndrome – challenges these established ethical norms. This is because NIPT has a higher rate of accuracy for Down’s syndrome when compared to other screening tests; there is no risk of a miscarriage when using NIPT; and NIPT test results can be returned earlier in the pregnancy than other prenatal tests for Down’s syndrome. The ease and reliability of NIPT may lead to its routinisation in clinical practice, and this could place pressure on women to use the test without an adequate provision of information beforehand. Other ethical issues related to the return of test results, societal pressure for women to use NIPT, and how NIPT discriminates against those with Down’s syndrome will be discussed.
Pete joined the Ethox Centre in October 2018 as a DPhil student with an interest in the ethics of medicine. Before coming to Oxford, Pete was responsible for research support at the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics. He gave assistance to the Ethics in Clinical Practice Program, a clinical ethics education program taught to physicians, medical residents, and medical students at Johns Hopkins Hospital, and he was a long-term observer of the Johns Hopkins Hospital Clinical Ethics Committee. He currently teaches 4th year medical students at Oxford in the Medical Ethics and Law program.
Malaria is one of the world’s largest public health issues with 2.5 billion people at risk and so is the need of an effective malaria vaccine. P. vivax malaria is increasingly acknowledged to be a neglected disease. Compared to its relative (P. falciparum), the effective vaccine preparation for vivax is a demanding task with its unique challenges including formation of dormant hypnozoites in the liver, gametocytes appearance before clinical symptoms of the disease, the transient developmental stage in mosquito and these together with other factors (low investment and drug limitation of primaquine) makes it difficult to eliminate P. vivax. Plasmodium Perforin-Like-Protein is highly expressed during the liver stage of infection, it is a target of cell-mediated immunity in naturally exposed individuals and its homologue has been shown to be protective in initial studies. The development of Pv-PLP malaria vaccine candidates as viral vector vaccines (ChAdOx1 and MVA) have been used in order to assess immunogenicity and efficacy of the vaccines. The vaccines have shown promising initial data with the involvement of antibodies and cytokines. This along with structural studies will help us to improve our knowledge and understanding on the hepatic cell-membrane rupture or modification made by a parasite for the successful entry into the parasites and can be used as an effective component of a multi-valent vaccine.
Second-year D-Phil student in Clinical Medicine, aiming to assess novel antigens for malaria vaccine development. Tayyaba is part of Reyes Group focussing on neglected tropical diseases at Jenner Institute. Tayyaba’s work aims to further understand the pre-erythrocytic malaria infection, the development of its vaccine and the insights into the immune system of protection. Prior to her studies at Oxford, Tayyaba completed her degree in Biomedical Sciences at National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST), Pakistan.
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