Fast-track communication poses ethical challenges

They described the dilemma of trying to urgently communicate an unexpected finding in the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic – that prior seasonal influenza vaccination conferred an increased risk of swine flu infection – within the constraints of the publishing process and amid leaks to the media.

In an editorial, the editors of Eurosurveillance said they supported fast-track publishing so long as it communicated “the level of uncertainty”. Key bodies such as WHO should act as intermediaries to assess risks, they said.