A government advisory panel in the United States has recommended that the federal government conduct a controversial study testing the effectiveness of anthrax vaccine in children but added that ethical issues must be resolved before the test can be conducted.
The National Biodefense Science Board voted to back the recommendation to the Health and Human Services Department of conducting the test in order to identify whether the vaccine is effective and safe among children.
The panel said that since the vaccine will be used on a large number of children in the event of a bioterrorist attack, it is prudent to test whether the vaccine is safe to be administered to the children.
Even as the panel strongly backed the recommendation, a number of experts are claiming that such a test would be unethical since it would require exposing healthy children to anthrax. The criticism was acknowledged by the panel which said that such issues should be resolved before the government decides to conduct the test.