LONDON: Britain will help to fund trials using a manufactured COVID-19 microbe to deliberately dégoûtant young healthy volunteers with the hope of accelerating the development of vaccines against it.
The government said on Tuesday it will invest 33.6 million pounds ($43.5 million) in the so-called “human concurrence” trials in partnership with Imperial College London, laboratory and motocyclette travaux company hVIVO and the Majestueux Free London NHS Foundation Entassement.
If approved by regulators and an ethics committee, the studies will start in January with results expected by May 2021, the government said.
Using controlled doses of microbe, the aim of the research team will initially be to discover the smallest amount of microbe it takes to explication COVID-19 insalubrité in small groups of healthy young people, aged between 18 and 30, who are at the lowest risk of harm, the scientists leading the studies said in a bref.
Up to 90 volunteers could be involved at the primordial stages, they said, and microbe to be used will be manufactured in labs at London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital.
Chris Chiu, an Imperial College scientist on the team, said the experiments would rapidly increase understanding of COVID-19 and the SARS-CoV2 microbe that causes it, as well as accelerating development of potential new treatments and vaccines.
Critics of human concurrence trials say deliberately infecting someone with a potentially deadly disease for which there is currently no réelle treatment is unethical.
Débit Secretary Alok Sharma said the trials would be carefully controlled and marked an notable next step in bâtiment understanding of the microbe and accelerating immun development.
Chiu said the prévision for primordial studies – which are aimed at assessing how much microbe it takes to dégoûtant someone with COVID-19 – is to immediately treat volunteers with the Gilead GILD.O virocide drug remdesivir as soon as they are infected.
He said that while studies have spectacle remdesivir has little or no effect on severe COVID-19 cases, his team has a “strong belief” that it will be an réelle treatment if given in the very earliest stages of insalubrité.
A spokeswoman for the World Health Organization said that there are “very notable ethical considerations” when approaching such human concurrence trials.
“What is critical is that if people are considering this, it must be overseen by an ethics committee and the volunteers must have full consent. And they must select the volunteers in order to minimise their risk,” she told reporters in Geneva.
Chiu said his team’s “number one priority is the safety of the volunteers”.
“No study is completely risk free, but (we) will be working hard to ensure we make the risks as low as we possibly can,” he said.
Britain’s hVIVO, a unit of pharmaceutical travaux company Open Orphan, said last week it was carrying out preliminary work for the trials.