Thousands of people sign up to be exposed to Covid-19 for science – could cut a vaccine study by months

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Abie Rohrig had just turned 18 when he told his mom he would be donating a kidney to save a stranger’s life. Her answer: No you’re not. He did it anyway — the organ went to a man about his age — and his mom was so inspired she went and donated a kidney herself.

So Rohrig expected her to understand when he told her that, for the benefit of humanity, he may volunteer to become infected with Covid-19.

Rohrig is one of more than 16,000 people — most of them young adults — who have signaled their support for a controversial method of speeding up the development of a vaccine by intentionally infecting dozens of volunteers. The signees of the online registry — a new website called 1 Day Sooner — have all checked a box next to the statement: “I am interested in being exposed to the coronavirus to speed up vaccine development.”

The practice is called a human-challenge study — or controlled human infection study — and it can truncate a conventional vaccine study by several months. The reason: Rather than waiting for months to assess what percentage thousands of vaccine-trial volunteers get infected with the disease in question while leading their day-to-day lives, a challenge trial is much simpler, in that it exposes about 100 volunteers directly to the pathogen — via syringe, cocktail, mosquito bite or nasal spray after an experimental vaccine or placebo is administered. (If the Covid-19 study comes to fruition, experts say it would likely be administered by nose drop.)

Conventional vaccine trials typically consist of three phases — the first, in which fewer than 100 participants are dosed to determine the safety; the second, in which the number of participants ramps up into the hundreds; and the third, in which the study is broadened to include thousands of people.

Typically, in that third phase, the participants return to their daily lives, and researchers — over a period of months — compare rates of infection between the placebo and test groups.

A human-challenge trial can replace a third phase, the Journal article says, short-circuiting the timeline by several months because researchers don’t have to wait for participants to get infected the organic way — by interacting with people at work, at school, in houses of worship or in homes. Instead, they expose the volunteers to the pathogen right then and there, in the lab.

https://edition.cnn.com/2020/05/13/us/coronavirus-human-challenge-study-invs/index.htmlHELP US SPREAD GOOD NEWS!

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