Tests are scheduled to start in January.
The UK government will allocate 33.6 million pounds (almost $44 million) for a vaccine testing program in which volunteers will be deliberately infected with the new coronavirus. As stated in a message posted on the British Ministry of Health website on Tuesday, the tests will begin in January if regulatory approvals are received on time.
It is assumed that in the first stage, researchers will determine the minimum dose of the virus necessary for a person with a high probability of getting COVID-19. The trials will involve 90 healthy young people between the ages of 18 and 30, among whom the risk of complications is considered minimal.
It is expected that after this, volunteers who have previously received various coronavirus vaccines will be infected, which will be the first such study in the world. This will help identify the most promising drugs for conducting expensive clinical tests and collect additional data on the effectiveness of vaccines that can already prove their effectiveness. In the case of such drugs, controlled infection trials should help determine whether the vaccine helps prevent infection and the transmission of the disease to other people. The first results are due in May 2021.
“The study will help us learn more about the virus, the nature of the disease, identify signs that a person is protected from infection or disease development, assess the prospects of candidate vaccines, making decisions about conducting certain research,” said Kate Bingham, head of the UK government’s vaccine task force.
The new program will be jointly implemented by specialists from Imperial College London and hVIVO at the Royal Free hospital, located in the North of the British capital in the Hampstead area. The organizers promise that the center for the study of infectious diseases at the hospital will ensure a high level of security during the program’s implementation. Volunteers who are isolated from the world for an extended period of time will receive monetary compensation. As previously reported by the Financial Times, about 2 thousand people have already volunteered to participate in the study. According to the publication, those who are selected to participate will receive more than 4 thousand pounds.