First responders, firefighters, and soldiers are allowed to volunteer for hazardous missions. Why should people, (soldiers or civilians) not be allowed to sign up for comparably hazardous medical experiments that are judged by a special government committee or whatever to save a large number of lives in total/net?

In discussions of this question by professional bodies and elsewhere, there seems to be a consensus that volunteers, even when fully informed and fully and freely consenting, must not be exposed to a risk of death or injury or the same magnitude that a soldier could ethically be.

"An ethics panel denied the application in January 2017, saying that deliberately infecting volunteers with Zika — which is innocuous to most people but can profoundly damage the brains of fetuses infected in the womb — would pose too much risk to the participants and their sexual partners." Source: https://www.statnews.com/2020/05/01/infect-volunteers-with-covid-19-in-the-name-of-research-a-proposal-lays-bare-a-minefield-of-issues/

Here is a link to a readable non-paywall-protected scientific peer-reviewed paper by Ricardo Palacios about this: https://trialsjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13063-019-3843-0 . I haven't seen an explanation or justification for this position that seems to be the consensus at the moment.

Doctors and nurses have worked in conditions where they were in grave danger of contracting covid-19/SARS/whatever you want to call it. No one protested that this was not ethical, provided a lot of lives were saved on balance, not even when some of said doctors and nurses died of covid-19 contracted as a result.

For example, if a minimum of one hundred people to a maximum of ten thousand people would be saved from death by covid-19/SARS/whatever you want to call it, for every death of a volunteer in an experiment of a particular type, would that be ethical?

Please don't explain how or why the public have a particular set of feelings about this sort of experiment. This question is asking whether it is actually ethical and why or why not.

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    What if the trial participants who've given informed consent go on to infect someone outside the trial who hasn't given consent and isn't informed? That's not at all comparable to firefighters, etc. – Carey Gregory Apr 12 at 14:03
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    The army doesn't give diseases to troops intentionally so that's a false equivalence. Isolating trial participants for weeks would mean you'll have a very hard time recruiting participants and an extraordinarily expensive trial. – Carey Gregory Apr 12 at 15:42
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    @anongoodnurse I'm well aware of the unfortunate medical experiments the US (and other) military has inflicted on soldiers, but it's still a false equivalence. The risk of joining the military today isn't that you'll be intentionally infected with a dangerous disease by somebody running clinical trials without your informed consent. The risk is you'll be killed by hostile forces or accidents getting to and from the battleground. The same is true of first responders and health care workers. There's an element of risk in their jobs that they accept, but no one is intentionally doing them harm. – Carey Gregory Apr 14 at 4:06
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    @anongoodnurse I don't disagree with you on that. Afghanistan is probably another example of Vietnam: twenty years of war simply because none of three presidents (and congresses) were willing to admit it was unwinnable and time to leave. So those politicians did intentional harm. But within the context of this question I just didn't find it a compelling argument. You can't excuse a medical officer conducting unethical trials because someone above him committed even graver offenses. – Carey Gregory yesterday

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