African Journal of Biomedical Research

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Hans Jonas’ thought on the ethics of research on human subjects: implications for contemporary medical research in Nigeria

J.I. Ebeh, A.P. Ekele


Hans Jonas’ thought on the ethics of research on human subjects and its implications for contemporary medical research in Nigeria was examined. The thinking and teachings of Hans Jonas was on the need for medical research to advance beyond the use animals for research and experimentations to research on human subjects. Jonas upholds the established view that medicine is an experimental science and that most medical advances are product of trial and error but goes further to argue that the use of animals such as rabbits, pigs, guinea pigs, rats and the like that share the same biological characteristics with human for different forms of medical research should be discarded because such do not give the appropriate information to the researcher. However, medical researches and experimentations in most developing countries seem not to have advanced beyond the use of experimental animals. Jonas argues that modern medical researches and experimentations should be carried out on human subjects with the view that it is humans alone that can give the appropriate information for treatment of diseases that plague human beings. Jonas also thinks that research on human subject seems to be necessary on the grounds that such appears to be one of the best avenues for training of contemporary medical students and for treatment of some debilitating diseases in the future.

Keywords: Human Research ethics, Nigeria, Hans Jonas

AJOL African Journals Online