Trial deliberately infecting people with Covid reveals results

The world’s first trial deliberately exposing adults to Covid is safe, researchers have claimed

Open Orphan, the team running the trial which sees volunteers deliberately exposed to Covid, announced on Wednesday that data gathered from participants shows the research is safe.

In a statement, the researchers confirmed that no serious adverse effects had emerged and the study had proved to be a safe and effective way to expand research into Covid’s impact on adults.

“People in this age group are believed to be major drivers of the pandemic and these studies, which are representative of mild infection, allow detailed investigation of the factors responsible for infection and pandemic spread,” Chris Chiu, chief investigator of the trial, said.

After infection, research showed individuals started to develop symptoms within two days, with infection first appearing in the throat and peaking about five days after contact.

The project, which is the world’s first trial to deliberately expose adults to Covid, was started back in February 2021 by Open Orphan, Imperial College London, the UK government’s vaccine task force and clinical company hVIVO.

It examined 36 healthy male and female volunteers aged 18-29 who were exposed to the original strain of Covid and monitored in a quarantine setting. They will be examined 12 months after discharge to give an insight into the longer term impact.

The information gathered so far means that future studies could be launched into new vaccines and medicines that could prevent infection from or treat the symptoms of Covid.

Human challenge trials have been used in the past by researchers to investigate the impact of diseases, such as cholera, flu, malaria, typhoid and more, as well as develop drugs to combat those illnesses.

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