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Over 24,000 people volunteer to be infected with coronavirus to speed up vaccine development

/ 06:36 PM May 21, 2020
coronavirus

An image of the SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Image: National Institutes of Health/AFP via AFP Relaxnews

Thousands of people from different countries have volunteered to be infected with the novel coronavirus in order to speed up COVID-19 research and accelerate the development of vaccines.

Under the 1 Day Sooner campaign, 24,292 people from 102 countries have so far signed up to participate in human challenge trials (HCTs), according to the campaign’s website.

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The campaign, which was started by a group of academics, researchers and professionals from the United States and the United Kingdom, encourages young adults (20 to 45 years old) with no underlying health conditions to sign up for the cause.

“Human challenge trials deliberately expose participants to infection, in order to study diseases and test vaccines or treatments,” the 1 Day Sooner team explained.

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“Researchers are exploring whether human challenge trials could speed up the development of a vaccine for COVID-19, saving thousands or even millions of lives,” they added.

The 1 Day Sooner team is citing past instances of the method proving effective in fighting diseases – such as smallpox, influenza, cholera, malaria, typhoid fever, dengue and zika – to support its push for HCTs for COVID-19.

While noting that any estimate on the vaccine’s impact is uncertain, the team hypothesized that if one-sixth of the world’s population is infected by the virus each year and that a vaccine averts 0.2% of those from dying, speeding up vaccine development may save over half a million lives.

Accelerating COVID-19 vaccine development by one day saves 7,120 lives; one week will save 55,000 lives; one month will save 220,000 lives; while three months will save 660,000 lives, the 1 Day Sooner team estimates.

Other than selecting people who are relatively young, they would be trying to reduce unnecessary risk by getting volunteers who are already exposed to COVID-19. JB

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TOPICS: coronavirus, COVID-19, COVID-19 vaccine, human trials, Medical research, novel coronavirus, Vaccine
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