Categories: Finance News

To jumpstart the COVID vaccine race, the U.K. considers ‘challenge trials’ exposing people to the virus

The U.K. government is considering carrying out the first studies that would deliberately expose healthy people to the coronavirus in a bid to accelerate the development of a vaccine.

The idea of challenge trials has gained momentum as the pathogen has spread around the world, sparking a debate over what kind of sacrifice is acceptable and the benefits the tests could bring. A growing number of volunteers have signed up to take part in such studies should researchers decide to proceed.

“We are working with partners to understand how we might collaborate on the potential development of a Covid-19 vaccine through human-challenge studies,” a government representative said Wednesday in an email. “These discussions are part of our work to research ways of treating, limiting and hopefully preventing the virus so we can end the pandemic sooner.”

Waiting for participants to become exposed to the illness to figure out whether a vaccine works can take months or even years. Challenge tests can hasten the work by placing volunteers in the path of the virus, though scientists are still learning about a pathogen that has killed almost 1 million people in just months.

Such tests also raise ethical questions about exposing people to a potentially fatal virus, and whether some test subjects would receive a placebo for control purposes.

The government declined to provide further details, including about which vaccines would be involved. U.K.-funded studies are expected to begin in January at a facility in London, the Financial Times reported earlier. In Britain, the University of Oxford is working with AstraZeneca Plc on a Covid vaccine, one of the front-runners in the global effort. Imperial College London is also working on an experimental inoculation.

More coronavirus coverage from Fortune:

  • Will the pandemic give us a Sputnik moment?
  • Researchers find a “druggable pocket” in coronavirus that could lead to new antivirals
  • When Bill Gates thinks we’ll have a COVID-19 vaccine—and why that won’t be the end of the pandemic
  • The CEO of the Serum Institute of India on his company’s COVID-19 vaccine campaign
  • How a company that makes COVID tests is keeping its own 50,000 employees safe
admin

Share
Published by
admin

Recent Posts

  • Finance News

Why healthcare stocks may be poised for a breakout year post-election

Ever since 2019, the healthcare sector has been white-knuckling and preparing itself for what may…

12 months ago
  • Finance News

Measuring stakeholder capitalism just got easier

Good morning. Critics of the movement toward “stakeholder capitalism” like to argue that until corporate…

12 months ago
  • Finance News

Under fire, AstraZeneca CEO defends transparency of COVID-19 vaccine trials

Pascal Soriot, the chief executive of pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca, has defended his company’s transparency amid…

12 months ago
  • Finance News

As infection rates rise, Europe embraces a ‘lockdown lite’ strategy

Fresh off a summer of relative freedom after harsh lockdowns at the beginning of the…

12 months ago
  • Finance News

‘It’s all about the dollar:’ As the greenback strengthens, the markets tumble

This is the web version of the Bull Sheet, Fortune’s no-BS daily newsletter on the…

12 months ago
  • Finance News

U.S. policies created the border and drug crises—and can end them

What would you risk for a better life? That’s a question Central Americans have been…

12 months ago