UNITED KINGDOM. United Kingdom is going to be the first nation to test the COVID-19 vaccine on humans. Around 2,000 people have volunteered to be a part of the COVID-19 vaccine trial. The ‘COVID-19 human challenge trials’ will start in January 2021.
COVID-19 human challenge trials
The qualified volunteers will be injected with an experimental vaccine. However, before that, they will be given a dose of SARS-COV-2 virus under controlled conditions. The main aim is to study the effectiveness of the vaccine. COVID-19 is caused due to the SARS-COV-2 virus. However, the UK government has not named the vaccines that will be used in this project.
Previously, this method was used to find vaccines and develop treatments for cholera, typhoid and malaria. The vaccine trials will use the antiviral drug Remdesivir to prevent serious illness in participants.
However, the COVID-19 vaccine trial will require the approval of the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
MHRA and an independent research ethics committee will decide on the implementation of the trial and look after safety and protocols. In an open statement, MHRA said that the human challenge trials can be very helpful for the development of vaccines.
Involvement of partners with the UK government for the trial
1Day sooner, a US-based advocacy group are campaigning for the COVID-19 vaccine trials. According to the reports, this group has started a petition to seek funds from the British Parliament to build a containment facility. This containment zone will have the capacity to quarantine 100 to 200 participants in a single time.
Meanwhile, French firm Sanofi and British drugmaker AstraZeneca, has denied the reports of their involvement with the programme.
The UK government is reportedly working with its partners on the potential for human challenge trials. However, the government is yet to come up with a specific plan.
In an open statement, a UK government spokeswoman said, “We are working with partners to understand how we might collaborate on the potential development of a COVID-19 vaccine through human challenge studies. These discussions are part of our work to research ways of treating, limiting and hopefully preventing the virus so we can end the pandemic sooner.