United Kingdom researchers will soon start the world’s first Covid-19 human trials to study the aftermath of the coronavirus infection on a healthy human immune system, as per media reports.
The study will help to gain an understanding of how the immune system responds to the virus invasion. It will further identify factors that influence how it is transmitted, including how a person who is infected “sheds” infectious virus particles into the environment.
For the study, the researchers involved 90 healthy adults. They will be exposed to coronavirus in a safe and controlled environment.
“Our eventual aim is to quickly test which vaccines and treatments work best in beating this disease,” said Chief Investigator Dr. Chris Chiu, from the Department of Infectious Diseases at Imperial College London.
“We are asking for volunteers aged between 18 and 30 to join this research endeavor to help us to understand how the virus infects people and how it passes so successfully between us,” he said, as cited in the India Today report.
The study is sponsored by the UK government that invested 33.6 million pounds. The study will be delivered by a partnership between Imperial College London, the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust, and the clinical company hVIVO.
After the preliminary findings, the researchers will inoculate the participants with the right dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. This will also help in identifying the most effective vaccines and accelerate their development.
“Researchers and scientists around the world have made great progress in understanding Covid-19 and developing critical vaccines to protect people, but we are only partway up the mountain we need to climb,” said UK Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng.
“While there has been very positive progress in vaccine development, we want to find the best and most effective vaccines for use over the longer term. These human challenge studies, the world’s first, will take place here in the UK and will help accelerate scientists’ knowledge of how coronavirus affects people and could eventually further the rapid development of vaccines,” he said.
The new study intends to detect the least amount of virus needed to cause Covid-19 infection.
The study will be reviewed by the UK Health Research Authority to ensure that it meets the highest ethical standards.
The researchers stated that the safety of the volunteers is of utmost importance. So, they will monitor participants’ health for a year.