• Coronavirus: Call to infect volunteers in Covid-19 vaccine hunt

    From alexander koryagin@2:5020/2140.2 to All on Thu Jul 16 15:07:20 2020
    Hi, all!

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    Coronavirus: Call to infect volunteers in Covid-19 vaccine hunt
    By Fergus Walsh Medical correspondent

    Nobel laureates are among scientists calling for volunteers to be
    exposed to coronavirus after receiving a vaccine to see if it offers protection.

    They signed an open letter to the head of the US National Institutes of Health, saying these "challenge trials" could accelerate vaccine

    The Oxford University Covid-19 vaccine programme's director said such
    studies should be "feasible and informative".

    There are now 23 coronavirus vaccines in clinical trials around the world.

    The only way we will know if any of them works is if enough volunteers
    are subsequently exposed to coronavirus in their daily life and do not
    get infected.

    That could take well into next year, given that many studies are being conducted in countries where infection rates are falling.

    The organisation 1 Day Sooner argues this should not be left to chance.

    It is made up of more than 30,000 would-be volunteers in 140 countries
    who say they are prepared to take part in challenge studies.

    'Healthy, young volunteers'

    The campaign now has the support of more than 100 prominent figures,
    including 15 Nobel laureates, who have signed an open letter advocating
    this approach. They say it would involve healthy, young volunteers being deliberately given coronavirus after receiving the vaccine.

    They argue that the risks to their health would be low, but the
    potential benefits to society enormous.

    The letter states: "If challenge trials can safely and effectively speed
    the vaccine development process, then there is a formidable presumption
    in favour of their use, which would require a very compelling ethical justification to overcome."

    The letter supporting challenge trials has been signed by Professor
    Adrian Hill, the director of the Jenner Institute at Oxford University,
    which has one of the leading prototype coronavirus vaccines.

    He said human challenge studies could happen "in the coming months".

    Dr Francis Collins, director of the NIH, has said Covid-19 challenge
    trials are "on the table for discussion - not on the table to start
    designing a plan".

    Isn't this unethical?

    This can be argued two ways. You could say it would be wrong to
    deliberately expose a trial volunteer to the risk of coronavirus, when
    we don't yet have a failsafe treatment which could guarantee their
    safety. Put simply, some volunteers could get seriously ill or die.

    But those in favour of going down this route argue the dangers are low.
    Nine in 10 people admitted to hospital with Covid-19 have a pre-existing health condition, and the vast majority who die are elderly. If you
    restrict challenge studies to young, fit people in their 20s, this would minimise the risks.

    1 Day Sooner says the chance of volunteers dying would be lower than for
    a live kidney donation or during childbirth. The campaign group argues
    it is unethical not to do challenge studies because they could
    accelerate research to find an effective coronavirus vaccine and
    potentially save hundreds of thousands of lives.

    Has this been done before?

    Yes. Challenge studies have a long history. In the late 18th century,
    Edward Jenner noticed that dairymaids were protected from smallpox after having been exposed to cowpox, which gave only a mild illness.

    He inoculated an eight-year-old boy with cowpox and then later
    deliberately exposed the child with smallpox. He did not get infected.

    Challenge studies have been used to test vaccines against cholera,
    malaria, typhoid and dengue fever. In each case there has been an
    effective treatment on hand to treat volunteers who might fall ill.

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    Bye, all!
    Alexander Koryagin

    --- FIDOGATE 5.1.7ds
    * Origin: Pushkin's BBS (2:5020/2140.2)