Some vaccine developers are taking steps to include them, in line with bioethicists’ urging, but it will likely take years before any expectant mothers are enrolled

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How women stopped being treated as ‘small men’. Men and women respond differently to diseases and treatments for biological, social and psychological reasons. This is the first article in our series on Gender Medicine, where experts explore these differences and the importance of approaching treatment and diagnosis through a gender lens

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Researchers have been too reticent to include pregnant women in clinical trials of vaccines, contends the working group behind the report. “Even for the vaccines we now recommend in pregnancy, pertussis and flu, the original trials did not include pregnant women,” says Carleigh Krubiner, a bioethicist at the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics, who is part of the group, “This project is trying to be more proactive.”

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Pregnant women are classified as a ‘vulnerable’ group

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Did the Zika virus put a heavier burden on women than it did on men when the virus swept through Brazil? A new report by Human Rights Watch argues that the answer is yes

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The widely accepted principle that mums-to-be are a ‘vulnerable’ group unfairly excludes them from taking part in clinical studies, and perpetuates the knowledge void around the impact of drugs taken during pregnancy, conclude researchers in the Journal of Medical Ethics. In a linked Commentary, Drs Carleigh Krubiner and Ruth Faden, of the Berman Institute, argue that the designation of pregnant women as ‘vulnerable’ “is inappropriate and disrespectful.”

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Time to call in the ethics experts. That’s what the Wellcome Trust did in supporting the formation of the “Ethics Working Group on Zika Virus Research & Pregnancy.” Consider this a Justice League of ethics, vaccine, infectious disease, Zika, and OB/GYN experts that included Ruth Faden, PhD, MPH, Annie Lyerly, MD, MA,, and Maggie Little, BPhil, PhD, The website lists other members of the Working Group.

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After a brief winter respite, concern over the virus is returning with a vengeance. Scientists continue to work to get ahead of the virus, and some are hoping to test vaccines on pregnant women for some surprising reasons

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