Human-Challenge Trials: Volunteering To Be Infected With Coronavirus

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Hundreds of People Volunteer to Be Infected with Coronavirus

by Ewen Callaway/Nature Magazine

Momentum is building to speed the development of coronavirus vaccines by intentionally infecting healthy, young volunteers with the virus. A grass-roots effort has attracted nearly 1,500 potential volunteers for the controversial approach, known as a human-challenge trial.

The effort, called 1Day Sooner, is not affiliated with groups or companies developing or funding coronavirus vaccines. But co-founder Josh Morrison hopes to show that there is broad support for human-challenge trials, which have the potential to deliver an effective coronavirus vaccine more quickly than standard trials.

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.

“We want to recruit as many people as possible who want to do this, and pre-qualify them as likely to be able to participate in challenge trials should they occur,” says Morrison, who is also the executive director of organ-donation advocacy group Waitlist Zero. ….read more:

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