The United Kingdom has given the go-ahead to a government-funded “human challenge study” that will see a small number of young and healthy adult participants deliberately infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the coronavirus strain that causes COVID-19.
The challenge study, which can begin in the coming weeks, will involve infecting several dozen people with a small amount of virus, with the goal of increasing the scientific understanding of transmission factors and the minimum amount of coronavirus that can cause infection in humans. A website for the challenge study describes the process as such: “The Human Challenge Model is a study during which healthy volunteers are deliberately exposed to a virus, known as the ‘challenge virus.’ This is different to standard vaccine clinical trials where volunteers are exposed to viruses naturally. The Human Challenge Model can provide a more efficient and faster way to develop vaccines as fewer volunteers are required.”
The study, which just received ethics approval, will compensate