The United Kingdom is the scene of an unpublished study on covid-19 that seeks to obtain “unique information” about the coronavirus.
Young and healthy volunteers will be infected with coronavirus to test vaccines and treatments.
It’s about a “human challenge test” and it is the first of its kind in the world.
The study, which received approval from bioethics committees, will begin in the coming weeks by recruiting 90 people between 18 and 30 years old.
They will be exposed to the virus in a safe and controlled environment while doctors monitor their health.
The United Kingdom administered doses of a covid vaccine to more than 15 million people.
Clinical studies have played a vital role in driving the development of treatments for a number of diseases, including malaria, typhoid, cholera, and the flu.
The trial will help scientists determine the smallest amount of coronavirus needed to cause an infection and how the body’s immune system reacts.
This will give doctors a better understanding of covid-19, the disease caused by the virus, which will contribute to the development of vaccines and treatments.
The “COVID-19 Human Challenge” study is carried out by a partnership between the UK government’s Vaccines Taskforce, Imperial College London, the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust and the company hVIVO, a pioneer in human viral testing models.
“We have secured a series of safe and effective vaccines for the UK, but it is essential that we continue to develop new vaccines and treatments for COVID-19,” said Clive Dix, Acting President of the Vaccines Taskforce.
“We hope this essay offers unique information about how the virus works and help understand which promising vaccines offer the best chance of preventing infection, “he said.
Analysis by James Gallagher, BBC Health and Science correspondent
We already have highly effective covid-19 vaccines. So why do we need human trials like this?
First, because they reveal things to us that are almost impossible to discover in the real world.
How much virus is needed to start an infection, how does the immune system build its initial defense, or which people will develop symptoms and which will not.
The UK trial will begin by focusing on these fundamental questions.
But there are also new vaccines in the works and the virus itself is evolving.
Large-scale covid vaccine trials in the UK will be nearly impossible by the end of this year as so many people will have been immunized.
But these studies that involve only a small number of volunteers will still offer answers to crucial questions, from how new vaccines compare to whether they protect against new variants.
For his part, Chris Chiu, chief researcher at Imperial College London, explained who the volunteers are needed for the trial.
“We are asking for volunteers between the ages of 18 and 30 to join this research effort and help us understand how the virus infects people and how it is so successfully transmitted between us,” he explained.
Volunteers will be tested to verify that they are healthy and have not been previously infected with the virus.
They will be sprayed with the virus up their noses and then spend 14 days in hospital quarantine, while being closely monitored by a medical team.
Find out how the virus develops in the nose and analyze the early stages of infection in people before it is present the symptoms are two of the main objectives.
Volunteers will be compensated for their time, to the tune of around £ 4,500 (roughly US $ 6,200) over the course of a year, which will include follow-up tests.
Initially, to deliberately infect volunteers, the study will use the virus that has been circulating in the UK since the pandemic began in March, which is low-risk for healthy adults.
Over time, a small number of volunteers are likely to be given an approved vaccine and then exposed to the new variants, helping scientists find more effective strategies, but this phase of the study has yet to be approved.
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