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AbstractBackground In this article we aim to assess the ethical desirability of self-test diagnostic kits for influenza, focusing in particular on the potential benefits and challenges posed by a new, mobile phone-based tool currently being developed by i-sense, an interdisciplinary research collaboration based (primarily) at University College London and funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. Methods Our study adopts an empirical ethics approach, supplementing an initial review into the ethical considerations posed by such technologies with qualitative data from three focus groups. Results Overall, we map a range of possible considerations both for and against the use of such technologies, synthesizing evidence from a range of secondary literature, as well as identifying several new considerations previously overlooked. Conclusions We argue that no single consideration marks these technologies as either entirely permissible or impermissible but rather tools which have the potential to incur certain costs and benefits, and that context is important in determining these. In the latter stages of the article, we explain how developers of such technologies might seek to mitigate such costs and reflect on the possible limitations of the empirical ethics method brought out during the study.
Rumbold, Benedict, Wenham, Clare and Wilson, James (2017) Self-tests for influenza: an empirical ethics investigation. BMC Medical Ethics, 18 (1). p. 33. ISSN 1472-6939