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he development of coronavirus vaccines is to be speeden up by intentionally infecting healthy, young volunteers with the virus. There are nearly 1,500 potential volunteers for the controversial approach, known as a human-challenge trial. Should scientists infect healthy people with the coronavirus to test vaccines?
Typical vaccine trials take a long time because thousands of people receive either a vaccine or a placebo, and researchers track who becomes infected in the course of their daily lives. A challenge study could in theory be much faster: a much smaller group of volunteers would receive a candidate vaccine and then be intentionally infected with the virus, to judge the efficacy of the immunization. The people who have signed up to be part of a challenge trial are mostly young and live in urban areas, and are highly motivated to do something constructive to address the coronavirus pandemic. “Many note that they recognize the risk but believe the benefits of vaccine acceleration are so tremendous that it is worth it to them,” he says.
Charlie Weller, head of the vaccines programme at Wellcome, a biomedical-research funder in London, says the charity has begun discussing the ethics and logistics of a human-challenge trial for a coronavirus vaccine. But she says it is unclear whether such a trial could actually speed vaccine development or not. Researchers first need to determine how to expose humans to the virus as safely as possible, and to consider how and even whether such studies can be done ethically.
You can read the full article here: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-01179-x