What is ‘human challenge’ that UK cleared to speed up Covid-19 vaccine trial?
Human challenge studies were conducted for cholera, typhoid, malaria, influenza, tuberculosis, dengue etc., in the pastUpdated: Oct 21, 2020, 08:27 IST
After mulling over the idea for a few days, the UK government on October 20 has given a go-ahead to start ‘human challenge’ trial so that an effective vaccine can be produced at the earliest. The concept of human challenge trial is not new, but it remains controversial as participants in such a trial are injected with the virus.
Here is all you need to know about human challenge trial and UK’s plan:
1. Amid the ongoing pandemic, the race for a fast and effective vaccine has now become intense. Russia has become the first country to have announced its vaccine against Covid-19, which has been tested amid a small number of people before its registration, which is why questions over the efficacy of the vaccines remain. The United Kingdom is also leaving no stones unturned to become a frontrunner in this race.
2. UK’s human challenge trial plan has an investment of 33.6 million pound from the National Health Services.
3. Under this programme, the participants will first be administered a vaccine candidate that has proven safe so far. Then they will be exposed to the Covid-19 virus in a safe and controlled environment. The participants will be monitored by researchers who will thus explore how the vaccine is working, how much virus can infect a group of healthy people etc — aspects that will bolster the vaccine research.
4. Since human challenge trial is risky, it will only involve healthy people belonging to the age group of 18 to 30.
5. About 90 participants, who will be compensated by the government, will take part in UK’s human challenge trial.
6. Human challenge trial will help researchers find out which vaccine is the most promising one.
7. The researchers are also hoping to find answers to whether vaccines can prevent only illness or whether vaccine can stop transmission.
8. The participants will be monitored for up to a year to find out if there is any long-term illness.
9. UK’s plan is subject to the approval of regulators and the ethics committee. Once approved, the study will start in January and the results are expected by May 2021.
10. Human challenge studies were conducted for cholera, typhoid, malaria, influenza, tuberculosis, dengue etc.