The UK is set to become the first country in the world to deliberately infect healthy volunteers with the coronavirus, the government confirmed today.
Up to 90 volunteers under the age of 30 will receive a dose of an experimental nasal vaccine, before being infected with Covid-19 in the challenge trial.
It is hoped the controversial study, if approved by regulators, will ramp up efforts to develop a vaccine, with the first only expected at the start of next year.
During the trial, earmarked to start in January, the volunteers will stay at a specialist diseases clinic at the Royal Free Hospital, London, where their symptoms will be closely monitored. Results would be expected in May next year.
Professor Peter Openshaw, from Imperial College London, said the study aims not to get people ill but to â€˜get the virus to replicate in the noseâ€™.
â€˜We think that by taking every precaution we can really limit the infection and then we should be able to do it quite safely given the vast amount of experience that we have in this field,â€™ he said.
Challenge trials were pioneered in the 18th century by scientist Edward Jenner, who exposed the eight-year-old son of his gardener to a virus to establish whether his experimental vaccine was effective.
Source: Daily Mail
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