Thousands of people have put their hands up for this process that could speed up the development of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Vaccine development takes quite a long time, as all potential vaccines must go through several levels of regulation before they are rolled out to the public. This process is extended depending on how complicated the disease the vaccine is trying to give immunity against, but what if there was a way to speed up the process?
Originally, vaccine development comes in three phases; Phase 1 is when a vaccine candidate is given to animals and/or a very small group of people. Phase 2 is the clinical study and the vaccine is given to people who have the same kind of characteristics the vaccine is intended for. Phase 3 is when the vaccine is given to thousands of people and tested for efficacy and safety.
Phase 3 takes the longest amount of time, and because this process can take quite some time a March paper from National Center for Biotechnology Information says we can speed up this process by a few months if we start infecting volunteers with vaccine candidates in a controlled environment.
"Controlled human challenge trials of SARS-CoV-2 vaccine candidates could accelerate the testing and potential rollout of efficacious vaccines. By replacing conventional Phase 3 testing of vaccine candidates, such trials may subtract many months from the licensure process, making efficacious vaccines available more quickly."
This idea of course doesn't come without its own risks:
"Obviously, challenging volunteers with this live virus risks inducing severe disease and possibly even death. However, we argue that such studies, by accelerating vaccine evaluation, could reduce the global burden of coronavirus-related mortality and morbidity. Volunteers in such studies could autonomously authorize the risks to themselves, and their net risk could be acceptable if participants comprise healthy young adults, who are at relatively low risk of serious disease following natural infection, they have a high baseline risk of natural infection, and during the trial they receive frequent monitoring and, following any infection, the best available care."
You are probably thinking that there would be minimal people to put their hand up for a such a trial? Well, according to 1DaySooner, more than 16,000 people have already raised their hands for a human experimental trial if one was to happen.
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