Imperial College of Technology recently issued a communiqué saying that the country’s ethics agency for clinical trials has endorsed a COVID-19 “human challenge trial” program, and researchers call on eligible volunteers to participate in it.
According to the introduction, this is the world’s first “human challenge test” for the novel coronavirus, and volunteers need to “test the poison with their own bodies” in order to study.
The first phase of the project will analyze the minimum amount of virus that causes COVID-19.
Using the coronavirus spread in the UK last March, the researchers plan to recruit no more than 90 healthy volunteers between the ages of 18 and 30 to expose them to the novel coronavirus in specialized isolation facilities so that researchers can observe and analyze the infection process.
At the same time, the researchers closely monitor the whole experiment to ensure that volunteers are safe and that medical staff can provide treatment to volunteers whenever needed.
In addition, the researchers plan to inoculate some volunteers with vaccine candidates that have been proven safe in clinical trials to verify which vaccine is more effective and thus speed up the development process of vaccines.
The UK government’s COVID-19 vaccine task force said that no vaccine is available to all people, so there is a need for ongoing development of new vaccines and therapeutic drugs.
Hopefully, this study will give people a better understanding of the mechanism of infection of the virus and which vaccines are more effective.
However, the “human experiment” still causes some controversy.
Critics believe that people are not safe to expose people directly to COVID-19, and that the results of experiments by young health experimenters do not represent a wider population.