The United Kingdom has announced that it will begin its COVID-19 human challenge trials in January, where subjects will be infected with coronavirus.
Next January, the UK will begin its first COVID-19 challenge studies. Researchers from the Imperial College London said Tuesday that they want 90 young and healthy adults for the human challenge trials. In these trials, researchers will give the subjects an experimental vaccine. Afterward, they’ll infect the volunteers with COVID-19.
The UK Challenge Trials
Gizmodo reports that this project wants subjects between 18 and 30 years old. Moreover, these volunteers will get paid. In the first phase, the researchers want to know the smallest dose of COVID-19 needed to infect a person. After that, they would test several trial vaccines.
If you join these trials, you’ll go to the Royal Free Hospital. You’ll also stay there until May. However, the team will monitor your progress for a whole year.
Responses to Challenge Trials
Some scientists don’t like the idea of doing challenge trials for COVID-19. They argue that they don’t know how the virus affects young and healthy people. Moreover, they said that challenge trials are useful only for rare diseases. COVID-19 has already reached pandemic levels, so it’s not rare. Also, there are already several vaccines in advanced testing.
On the other hand, supporters said that scientists should create as many vaccines as possible. With challenge studies, experts can observe every stage of COVID-19 infection in a lab setting.
Who Will Do These Studies?
The UK government has teamed up with hVIVO. The latter has already worked on human challenge trials. Moreover, the UK government expects to spend $43.4 million on the project.