Deliberate Infection with COVID-19 for 'Human Challenge Trial' Photo: Nature

14,000 people volunteer to be infected with Coronavirus ─Report

* ‘Human challenge trial’ could produce a vaccine, save thousands of lives ─Experts

Web Editor | ConsumerConnect

Imagine being told to inhale a nasal spray full of the Coronavirus.

More than 14,000 people in the United States (US) and elsewhere are putting down their names to do so.

The individuals are volunteering for what is called a “human challenge trial”, an ethically controversial way to test vaccines that would deliberately infect people with a virus that has infected 4, 358, 142 persons in 212 countries and territories and killed 293, 232 people worldwide as of 10.30a.m. May 13, 2020, but has yet no cure.

Dr. Nir Eyal, Director of the Centre for Population-Level Bioethics at Rutgers University, said of the strange development that “it’s not every day we give a healthy individual an exposure to a pathogen — the very same thing doctors are trying to protect people from.”

“But it becomes increasingly clear [that] the only sustainable exit from the current health and societal crisis is a vaccine, and there are ways to conduct such a trial that are perfectly ethical,” reports NBC News.

A vaccine is society’s ticket back to normalcy — to crowded sports stadiums, birthday parties and visits to elderly loved ones, as well as back to some of the over 33 million lost jobs.

But a solution is likely still a year to 18 months away at best, spurring warnings of social distancing until 2022 and a worse second wave this winter, says the report.

The problem is that vaccines take time to develop and test — often upward of a decade. The final phase of vaccine testing usually requires tracking up to tens of thousands of people to see who becomes infected in their daily lives, sometimes over several years.

But leading epidemiologists, philosophers and vaccinologists have recently advocated human challenge studies to accelerate the process.

Dr. Eyal and his co-authors predict that with careful design and informed consent, the trial could bring a vaccine months earlier and save thousands of lives across the world.

Kindly Share This Story