UK human guinea pigs to be deliberately exposed to Covid in world-first study

UK adults will be deliberately exposed to Covid-19 in a world-first human challenge study.

Ninety carefully selected volunteers, aged 18-30, will be given the smallest amount of virus needed to cause infection.

Experts hope the study will give doctors a greater understanding of the virus and aid vaccine and treatment development.

The Government has invested £33.6 million in the first-of-its-kind study for this virus, due to start in weeks.

Researchers have called upon healthy young people to volunteer to be exposed to coronavirus in a ‘safe and controlled environment’.

They will use the version of the virus that has been circulating in the UK since March last year rather than any new strains.

It comes following approval from the UK’s clinical trials ethics body, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (Beis) announced on Wednesday.

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: ‘Researchers and scientists around the world have made incredible progress in understanding Covid-19 and developing critical vaccines to protect people.

‘While there has been very positive progress in vaccine development, we want to find the best and most effective vaccines for use over the longer term. 

‘These human challenge studies will take place here in the UK and will help accelerate scientists’ knowledge of how coronavirus affects people and could eventually further the rapid development of vaccines.’

This is a breaking story – more follows.

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