The world’s first COVID-19 human challenge is about to start.
Britain will infect 2,500 healthy volunteers with coronavirus to study how the infection behaves in the body — specifically the amount it takes before a person develops Covid-19, the Sun reported.
The government has budgeted $45 million for the research, which is being conducted by Imperial College, the National Health Service’s Royal Free Hospital and pharmaceutical company hVIVO, a pioneer in viral human challenge models.
Human challenge studies aren’t used often because of the ethical questions raised about infecting healthy people.
The Brits, ages 18 to 30, will get a dose of an experimental nasal vaccine, then be infected. The project gets underway in January; scientists expect the first results in May.
Alastair Fraser-Urquhart, 18, of Stoke-on-Trent, raised his hand because he wants to help “bring the world out of the pandemic sooner..
“I can’t let this opportunity to do something, to really do something, pass me by when I’m at such low risk.”
Fraser-Urquhart and his fellow volunteers will be paid about $5,300 for their three-week stay at the hospital’s specialist diseases clinic, where they will be monitored around the clock, the Mail Online reported.
Later, researchers will use the human challenge model to find out how vaccines work to prevent coronavirus.
On Wednesday, British scientists announced that people who had mild cases of COVID developed an immunity that lasts at least four months.