Five Things Students and Clinicians Should Know About "Biocontainment"

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Biocontaining was one way that Western, affluent, allopathic cultures tended to respond and make meaning during the 2013-2015 Ebola virus disease (EVD) pandemic. It became a pathway to restore trust in biomedicine itself, which had been shaken by unease across the globe when the EVD threat was at its height. Yet biocontaining barely qualifies as a public health measure. Successful public health efforts rely on trust, which is difficult to maintain during a pandemic. Such efforts require balancing the need to be close to patients to care well for them against the need to remain distant from a virulent pathogen. Biocontainment tries to navigate this tension and, in so doing, simultaneously frustrates and supports public trust. This article suggests 5 things clinicians and health professions students should consider about the project of biocontainment that could affect their orientation to their public health duties.




Chapple, H. S. (2020). Five Things Students and Clinicians Should Know About “Biocontainment.” AMA Journal of Ethics, 22(1), E22–E27.

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