While other countries test COVID-19 vaccines, the UK might take another approach. The government might infect volunteers with the COVID-19 virus in a challenge trial strategy.
The UK’s Challenge Trial Strategy
The Financial Times reports that the UK might start challenge trials by January 2021. In these trials, doctors would give subjects a trial vaccine and then expose them to the coronavirus. These infections will happen in a controlled setting.
— Gizmodo (@Gizmodo) September 28, 2020
Supporters believe that challenge trials would speed up a COVID-19 vaccine. However, experts worry that subjects might suffer health problems.
The Challenge Trials’ Progress
As of now, the UK is still preparing for possible challenge trials. Last Thursday, the drug company Open Orphan said it was willing to work with the UK government on this strategy.
Ideally, challenge trials could fast-track research into diseases. You could just stick people with the virus to check their responses right away. Doctors could also monitor the vaccine’s effects in real-time.
Risk of Challenge Trials
However, COVID-19 challenge trials might carry too much risk. Sticking people with a virus that still puzzles experts could be very dangerous. If the UK pushes through with the tests, the WHO will inspect them thoroughly.