Coronavirus: Researchers will infect volunteers to find lowest dose that causes Covid

Coronavirus: Researchers will infect volunteers to find lowest dose that causes Covid

British researchers are preparing to deliberately expose dozens of volunteers to coronavirus to learn the lowest possible dose that causes an infection.

The data collected will pave the way for further “challenge trials” — where participants are purposefully infected — that will be used to accelerate vaccine development.

The first trial is expected to begin in January and is expected to involve between 30 and 50 healthy volunteers between the ages of 18 and 30.

They will be infected and isolated for between two and three weeks at a biocontainment unit at the Royal Free Hospital in London. The volunteers are expected to be paid about £4,000 — a tariff set according to the demands placed on their time rather than the medical risks they face. They will be called in for regular follow-up monitoring for a year.

The project will be led by scientists from Imperial College London and will involve hVIVO, a company that specialises in challenge trials. The government is putting £33.6 million towards the work.