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From Blue Skies to Black Swans: Emergency R&D for Ebola, Zika and Coronavirus Diagnostics

Wednesday 3 June 2020, 4.00PM to 5.15pm

Speaker(s): Ann Kelly

Beginning with the 2013–2016 West African Ebola crisis, clinical research and product testing has been brought into the frontlines of outbreak response, radically compressing development timelines and unsettling regulatory standards, biosecurity strategy and humanitarian protocols.This paper examines those emerging epistemic practices and ethical norms as they play out the development, testing and licensure of emergency diagnostics for Ebola, Zika and Covid-19.

Through the concept of the ‘diagnostic frontier’, we comparatively consider how the benefits and risks of research are framed in these three cases, and the trade-offs between global health knowledge, intervention and innovation each distinct situation of radical uncertainty entails. Drawing on empirical research with scientists, developers and regulators, we pay particular attention to how novel fit-for-purpose tests conjugate the emergency state of exception, tracking the extensions, contractions and re-distribution of governmental authority. Where research and development are enfolded into medical countermeasures, we suggest that a new frontier of global health is emerging, demarcated by ‘just-in-time’ logics.

Dr Ann Kelly is a Reader (Associate Professor) in Global Health at King's College London.

This seminar will take place on Zoom. In order to join the meeting, input the following details on Zoom:

* Meeting ID: 995 0053 2291
* Password: 188922

Location: Online event