A COVID-19 trial that will see healthy young people paid £ 4,500 ($ 6,227) to be deliberately infected with coronavirus received ethical approval in the UK The human challenge study, the first of its kind in the coronavirus, will help identify the most effective vaccines and accelerate their development, the UK government said on Wednesday.
Human challenge studies, which have been used successfully in the past to develop vaccines against malaria and cholera, involve the deliberate infection of volunteers to test the effectiveness of the vaccines. In this case, up to 90 carefully selected healthy adult volunteers, ages 18-30, will be exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19 to help researchers understand how the virus infects people and how it is transmitted. Scientists also aim to establish the least amount of virus necessary to cause an infection. Read: President Joe Biden Seeks to Calm Vaccination Pacing Concerns After this initial ‘virus characterization’ study, several volunteers can be given candidate vaccines, which have been shown to be safe in clinical trials, before being exposed to COVID-19. “We hope these studies will provide unique information on how the virus works and help us understand which promising vaccines offer the best chance of preventing infection,” said Dr. Clive Dix, Acting Chairman of the Government Vaccine Task Force. The UK reached its goal of offering a first dose of vaccine to 15 million people by mid-February and aims to vaccinate everyone over 50 by the end of April. Two vaccines developed by Pfizer PFE, + 0.72% and BioNTech BNTX, -1.68%, and AstraZeneca AZN, + 1.19% and the University of Oxford are currently being used in the UK launch. Moderna‘s MRNA vaccine, -2.14%, has also received authorization for emergency use and the doses are expected to arrive before Easter (April 4). Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said the human challenge study could “eventually promote the rapid development” of long-term vaccines. “While there has been very positive progress in vaccine development, we want to find the best and most effective vaccines for long-term use,” he said. The study is being carried out by the government working group, Imperial College London, Royal Free London National Health Service Foundation Trust and ORPH of the Irish company Open Orphan, + 6.67% subsidiary hVivo. The researchers will use the version of COVID-19 that has been circulating in the UK since March 2020 in the characterization study. The government said it has been shown to be “low risk in healthy young adults.” The volunteers, who have been urged to enroll in the study, will be closely monitored by doctors and scientists 24 hours a day. See also: UK hits vaccination target with more than 15 million people receiving first injection Professor Terence Stephenson, Chairman of the Health Research Authority, whose ethics committee approved the trial, said: “The sum is approximately £ 4,500 but covers the initial stay and follow-up ”, according to various media outlets. Open Orphan CEO Cathal Friel told MarketWatch that the amount of compensation was set by the ethics panel, reflecting an adequate amount for two weeks in quarantine. Volunteers in the human challenge study are typically paid £ 3,500, he said, adding that it would not be unusual to expect a small amount higher than that of a COVID-19 study. A separate trial was launched in the UK earlier this month to assess whether people can receive different vaccines for their first and second doses. If the study shows that mixing and matching vaccines provides the same or better protection, you can prevent potential supply problems in the coming months. As the UK continues to vaccinate those under 70, it should also administer a second dose in the coming weeks to those who have already received the first.