Would you purposely expose yourself to the virus that causes COVID-19? Researchers in the UK are hoping that people will volunteer to become infected in a Human Challenge Trial to find a COVID-19 vaccine.
You are recruiting healthy adults up to 30 years of age for the study. Volunteers must not have any underlying health conditions, history, or symptoms of COVID-19.
Experiments with human challenges are not common due to the risk to the volunteers. In this case, the researchers believe the risk is worth it, so a vaccine against COVID-19 can be found sooner rather than later.
“Deliberately infecting volunteers with a known human pathogen is never taken lightly,” said Peter Openshaw, PhD, immunologist at Imperial College London and study researcher, in an article in STAT. “However, such studies are enormously informative about a disease, even one as well-studied as Covid-19.”
The first step is to find out how little, or how much, of the virus is needed to cause infection. 90 paid volunteers will be involved in this phase. Once this part is completed, the next step is to test the vaccine candidates and see if they prevent other volunteers from getting sick after exposure to the virus.
It is hoped that the process, which will take place in a London hospital, can begin in January 2021 and the results will be available by May this year. This may be too late to be the first successful vaccine on the market, but multiple vaccines for one disease can only make vaccines more available worldwide.
Individuals in the UK interested in learning more about the upcoming study can visit www.UKCovidChallenge.com to learn more.