U.K. TO TEST VACCINE ON YOUNG VOLUNTEERS
The British government says it will fund trials that deliberately infect young volunteers with the new coronavirus in a bid to speed up the development of an effective vaccine, NHK News reported.
The government plans to invest more than 43 million dollars in the study to be conducted by researchers at Imperial College London and other organizations.
Prior to the trials, the researchers will assess the amount of the new coronavirus needed to cause COVID-19 by infecting a group of healthy volunteers aged 18 to 30 with the virus.
The researchers will then give vaccine candidates to another group of healthy volunteers and deliberately infect them with the virus to study the efficacy and side effects of the vaccines.
The volunteers' health will be monitored constantly during the study and for up to one year after it.
Researchers say they have not determined which vaccine candidates will be used in the trials.
They say they plan to begin the study in January following approvals from British regulatory authorities and the ethics panel.
The government says trials that deliberately infect people with a virus have been conducted for influenza and other pathogens. It says the method will be used for the first time for the new coronavirus.
The research team stresses that the first priority is the safety of the volunteers and that the experience and expertise they gain from the trials will help them tackle the pandemic, benefiting people in Britain and worldwide.