The Financial Times reports that, in order to speed up vaccine production, the United Kingdom will start testing in January with volunteers who will be inoculated with the Covid-19 virus.
The experiment will take place in London, in an isolated location. The volunteers will get a vaccine and, after a month or more, will receive a dose of Sars-CoV-2, the virus that causes the disease. About 2,000 volunteers in the UK have signed up for possible experiments like this, via the American group 1DaySooner, which since the beginning of the pandemic has advocated for the cause of testing vaccines on people who were willing to be infected in order to speed up the process immunization against Covid-19. In total, 1DaySooner managed to enlist 37,000 volunteers around the world.
According to the Financial Times, a 24-bed clinic in London is expected to initially host people who will be inoculated with the virus. The clinic is run by hVivo, which emerged from Queen Mary University, specializes in this type of “challenge testing” and was purchased by Open Orhan, a pharmaceutical research organization based in Dublin. Who will lead the tests academically will be Imperial College London.
To conduct the study, researchers must find a genetic variant of the virus that is representative of the others circulating in the world. The dose of virus to be inoculated also cannot overload people’s immune systems. As a “rescue drug”, the researchers chose the antiviral remdesivir, the only drug that has proven to have any effect against Covid-19.
Volunteers participating in influenza vaccine trials receive about 3,750 pounds from hVivo. The forecast is that people who will be inoculated with the Covid-19 virus will receive a larger amount.
According to the Financial Times, the project will be announced next week.