Saturday 26 September 2020 8:37 AM UTC
LONDON Sept 26: In a first, the UK is set to host clinical trials where healthy volunteers are deliberately infected with coronavirus to assess the effectiveness of experimental vaccines, the Financial Times reported.
The government-funded project is expected to begin in January at a quarantine facility in London. About 2,000 potential volunteers have signed up for the studies, the report added.
Volunteers who qualify for the trials will be injected with an experimental vaccine before being administered a dose of Sars-Cov-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, under controlled conditions.
It did not name the vaccines that would be assessed in the project. British drugmaker AstraZeneca, and French firm Sanofi both told Reuters that their vaccine candidates were not involved in the programme.
The FT report said that the volunteers for the project, which will be announce next week, will be first inoculated with a vaccine and later receive a challenge dose of the Covid-19 causing SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, under controlled conditions.
According to the report, the challenge trials have been instrumental in developing vaccines and treatments for typhoid, cholera and malaria and in understanding how the immune system responds to flu.
The project’s academic leader is Imperial College London, and it will be run by hVivo, a spinout from Queen Mary University of London that was bought earlier this year by Open Orphan, a Dublin-based pharmaceutical research organisation, the report said.
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