oa South African Journal of Bioethics and Law - Workload of a South African university-based health research ethics committee in 2003 and 2007

Volume 1, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1999-7639



A health research ethics committee (REC) to deal with medical research involving humans was established at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg (Wits), in October 1966, 4 months after publication of the seminal article on ethics and clinical research by Beecher. This committee, the first in South Africa, has functioned continuously ever since. From 1966 to 2002 it was known as the Committee for Research on Human Subjects (Medical) and subsequently as the Human Research Ethics Committee (Medical) (HREC(M)). The Committee has United States Federal Wide Assurance (FWA No. 00001223) and has applied for registration with the newly formed National Health Research Ethics Council in South Africa ; it is informally accepted by the South African Medical Research Council (MRC) and the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC). There are two other RECs at the University, one dealing with research in the humanities (since 1988) and the other with research involving animals (since 1975).

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