All too often groups of people are unknowingly infected with disease as a means of isolated experimentation. Earlier this week the Commision for the Study of Bioethical Issues reviewed the 1940s incident where the U.S. government infected Guatemalan prisoners and patients with syphilis. Via Reuters:
U.S. government researchers must have known they were violating ethical standards by deliberately infecting Guatemalan prison inmates and mental patients with syphilis for an experiment in the 1940s, according to a U.S. presidential commission.
The U.S.-funded research in Guatemala did not treat participants as human beings, failing to even inform them they were taking part in research, as was the case for a similar study in the United States, the commission said on Monday.
The United States apologized last year for the experiment, which was meant to test the drug penicillin, after it was uncovered decades later by a college professor.
President Barack Obama’s Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues investigated the syphilis experiment and discussed its key findings in Washington on Monday.