British scientists scheduled a controversial COVID-19 vaccine trial in January 2021. In which, 90 healthy, young volunteers will be given a COVID- 19 before being actively exposed to the pandemic SARS-CoV-2 virus.
The deliberate transmission of the virus to volunteers by many protesters is called an ethical defiance of science. However, this trial support group says that is the current fastest and most effective way to see if a vaccine is effective for COVID-19.
In an open letter calling on the UK government to support this experiment, 170 scientists and scholars from this country emphasized the death risk of young volunteers aged 20-29 to participate in this experiment. very small, even smaller than unilateral donation.
The research was carried out by scientists from Imperial College London, in partnership with the UK Government Department for Business, Energy and Strategy, Royal Free London Trust Fund NHS and hVIVO, a specialist company Conduct experimental studies on humans.
In it, they selected 90 healthy volunteers between the ages of 18 and 30. In the early stages of the experiment, the scientists would choose a group of paid volunteers to insert nose drops. dose of SARS-CoV-2 virus is different. The goal is to try and determine what is the minimum dose that could lead to COVID-19 infection.
Moving to the next stage, the scientists would inject COVID-19 vaccine to a new group of volunteers, then inject them with a dose of COVID-19 infection in their nose. Volunteers will be monitored very carefully, in a special quarantine area at London Royal Free Hospital.
If the volunteers after vaccination are not infected, the vaccine will be concluded to be effective and vice versa. After that, the volunteers will continue to be monitored for 1 year to see if they have any infections or complications.
As expected, if the test goes according to plan by January 2021, the scientists will have preliminary results in May.
The study of actively infecting a human pathogen is called “human challenge“Or challenge people. It is very rarely conducted and is usually only done with weak pathogens that are only capable of causing mild illness. In the past, this kind of experimentation has helped scientists to find out. vaccines against cholera, typhoid and malaria.
While the SARS-CoV-2 virus typically causes only mild to moderate symptoms in the majority of people, especially young people, the long-term effects of COVID-19 on their bodies are not yet understood. clear. Therefore, many fear that the new study by Imperial College London will have certain risks that transcend the ethical boundaries of science.
Even so, Professor Peter Openshaw, an immunologist at Imperial College London, a member of the research team, said: “We never take the intentional infestation of volunteers lightly. But this research will tell us a lot about the disease, even the well-studied one is COVID-19.
While the trial has certain risks, it opens up opportunities for scientists to track the entire course of COVID-19 infection in humans in the most controlled environment, without any kind of research. Other can provide. The trial also gives the fastest, most accurate and direct results of a vaccine’s effectiveness against the disease.
“What is really important now is that we must move as fast as we can to have an effective vaccine and other treatments for COVID-19. Human-challenging studies have the ability to speed up and reduce the risk that happens when developing other new drugs and vaccines “, Openshaw said.
Danica Angel Marcos, one of the volunteers of the trial.
On my side, the volunteers who registered to participate in the pilot program felt quite optimistic. Already over 2,500 British people were willing to apply for the trial and 90 were selected.
Danica Angel Marcos, a 22-year-old girl recently graduated from Lancaster University, said: “Anyway, I’m at risk of getting the virus when I shop at the grocery store. Why don’t I proactively infect it with a reason and meaningful purpose?”
Marcos had a very close friend and both her friend’s grandfather and grandmother died from COVID-19. “A lot of people are struggling right now and I want this pandemic to end as soon as possible. “she said. “This vaccine trial could make the world’s traumatic times pass faster, and I want to help the scientists. I want to be a part of them “.
Chris Holdsworth, one of the volunteers of the trial.
Chris Holdsworth, another 25-year-old volunteer studying for a doctorate at the University of Edinburgh, was a bit worried. He said: “It would be a lie if I say I’m not scared because the virus is only 1 year old. But at the same time, I’m not trying to exaggerate that risk. I know how it is. ”
Seán McPartlin, a graduate student at Oxford University who also participated in the experiment agreed to: “Even if the long-term effects of the virus were worse than we suspected, I still think there are a lot of volunteers – myself included – willing to try it to save so many other lives.” .
Seán McPartlin, one of the trial’s volunteers.
However, McPartlin’s choice seems to be worrying his family. Although his father appreciated the benefits of this human trial, he did not agree with the risks it brought.
“People always think that wars have meaning … but no one wants the person they love to become a soldier who takes risks “McPartlin’s father said. “Psychologically, that’s completely understandable, but mentally and morally it’s difficult to say. ”
See Gizmodo, Theguadian