UK scientists want to infect volunteers with Covid-19 in race to find vaccine

However, other UK scientists have reacted with horror at the proposal to implement human challenge trials for a Covid-19 vaccine on the grounds that these could cause serious illness and possibly deaths of volunteers who had been deliberately infected with the virus. So I think there could be grounds forgoing ahead with challenge trials, though it would be based on a very finely balanced argument.” As a result, scientists have proposed that human challenge trials could be introduced to test a vaccine quickly and so save thousands of lives by preventing future infections. “Levels of infection in the community are already low, and if this virus behaves like other respiratory diseases and coronaviruses, there may be even lower levels over the summer,” said ProfessorLawrence Young of Warwick University Medical School. Only very healthy young people – around the age of 25 – who have given informed consent would be used However, these ailments pose relatively low risks to volunteers. “Challenge studies should then be conducted in specialised facilities, with especially close monitoring and readyaccess to early supportive treatment for participants,” add the guidelines. The idea of carrying out human challenge trials for a Covid-19 vaccine was also backed by Professor Arpana Verma, of Manchester University. So I think it would be entirely justifiable to go ahead with such trials.” But the proposal was firmly opposed by immunologist Professor Eleanor Riley of Edinburgh University. It should also be incapable of causing severe illness in healthy individuals, or thereshould be a highly effective drug to clear the infection.