The UK has signed a deal to start the first human challenge studies for COVID-19, drawing the interest of tens of thousands of people worldwide.
The United Kingdom has inked a deal to infect its citizens with COVID-19 for vaccine testing. For this testing, experts will infect healthy volunteers with COVID-19 in a lab setting. They will also give some subjects a trial vaccine. This mode of vaccine trials is called challenge studies.
Challenge Studies in the UK
CNN says that the UK will need 19 volunteers to join the study. If you get in, you’ll go with the other volunteers to London’s Royal Free Hospital. In the hospital, you’ll proceed to its Biosafety Level 3 ward.
The Imperial College London will team up with the medical research company hVIVO to run the study. According to CNN, hVIVO is an expert at running challenge studies.
How Are Challenge Studies Different from Other Vaccine Trials?
Most vaccine trials are already in Phase 3, or the final stage. This stage means that the volunteers receive an experimental vaccine. After that, they go back to live their everyday lives. During this stage, researchers assume they’ll get infected with the virus naturally.
Will Challenge Studies Work?
However, challenge studies are different. The researchers will intentionally infect their subjects with the virus. Supporters of challenge trials believe that they are more efficient. For example, they don’t need thousands of volunteers. They can also get results more quickly.
On the other hand, critics say that infecting people with a new virus is hazardous. Scientists still have much to learn about COVID-19. Moreover, no foolproof treatment exists for the disease yet. Critics also say that young and healthy people do not represent the entire population.
CNN reports that a multitude of people has shown interest in joining these human challenge trials.