HEALTH-CORONAVIRUS-CHALLENGE-INFECTIOUS: Coronavirus: Discussions for an “infectious challenge” in Great Britain
par Kate Kelland
LONDON (Reuters) – A biotech lab said it was in advanced talks with the British government to set up an “infectious challenge” on the coronavirus, a practice of inoculating disease to test a vaccine more quickly.
“We are in discussions with many parties, including the UK government, on a COVID-19 challenge study, and as soon as one of these contracts is signed, we will make an announcement,” said Cathal Friel, executive chairman of the Open Orphan pharmaceutical services group, parent company of hVIVO in charge of the tests.
Video: Martin Hirsch: “90%” of intensive care beds occupied by Covid cases “by the end of October” (Dailymotion)
If the tests are ethically and safety approved by regulatory authorities, the laboratory will implement a protocol in which candidate volunteers will receive a vaccine and then, about a month later, will be deliberately infected with the virus under controlled conditions.
Candidates will then be placed in quarantine and monitored to see if they get sick or if the vaccine protects them.
Opponents of the practice believe that deliberately infecting a person with a potentially fatal virus for which there is currently no effective treatment is unethical.
An “infectious challenge” on the coronavirus in Britain will need to be approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, the health body responsible for reviewing the safety, ethics and protocol of such a practice.
(Pravin Char and Carmel Crimmins; French version Claude Chendjou, edited by Jean-Michel Bélot)