Last year the UK government set out plans to support human challenge trials of coronavirus vaccines starting from 2021. To shed some light on the issue, let’s check out today’s coronavirus news update.
In This Article:
- What Happens in the Challenge Trials?
- Purpose of the Trials
- Is It Better than Traditional Trials?
- The New Variants
- Are They Safe?
Coronavirus New: Challenge Trial – a New Breakthrough
What Happens in the Challenge Trials?
Among the coronavirus news, this is probably the most exciting piece of information since the creation of COVID-19 vaccines. The challenge trials are a series of tests and information gathering in which a group of volunteers in the UK deliberately get infected with the coronavirus. The trials are considered innovative because they would be the first trials conducted in this manner in the world.
After being ethically approved, the study is expected to start soon, with 90 people being infected and tested.
As for the actual procedure, the volunteers will spend the whole time alone in a hospital room and only come into contact with only those operating the trials.
On the third day, they will be injected with the virus via their airways/nose and tested and monitored for the next two weeks. After that, they can return home if they are free of the virus.
Purpose of the Trials
The primary purpose of this experiment is to answer the almost impossible question:
- How does the immune system initiate its first defense?
- How much virus does it take to begin an infection?
- Will you be able to tell which people will develop symptoms?
Essentially, the trials will provide us with a better understanding of COVID-19.
Is It Better than Traditional Trials?
Both traditional and challenge trials play a crucial role, but challenge trials stand out because of their advantages, one of which is how quickly and effectively they can get the results. In traditional trials, scientists and researchers have to passively wait for people to be infected.
The New Variants
It’s been more than a year since the first case of COVID-19 was found and reported internationally by WHO and CDC. There have been a lot of changes since then. On the one hand, we have managed to create vaccines for COVID-19, but on the other hand, the virus has also evolved into different variants with an increased threat to the world.
The challenge trials are currently using the form of coronavirus, which was spreading in the summer of 2020. It will need quite some time for the trials to switch over to one of the newer variants, which have emerged at the end of 2020. The switching process will take about three to four months, and it’s crucial to determine whether the vaccine is effective against the new variants.
Are They Safe?
Even though the risk is relatively low, the trials are not entirely risk-free. The trials focus on people between the age of 18 to 30 with no health problems. For the whole year-long research, the volunteers are given £4,500 as “compensation” for the time commitment.
Challenge trials may sound new, but this kind of research has been conducted for centuries to work on ways to create vaccines for the flu, cholera, and malaria.
Nevertheless, hearing good coronavirus news will give researchers better hope of creating a line of vaccines to fight off the coronavirus. And of course, the challenge trials are probably the most optimal way to find out more about this unknown virus as soon as possible.
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