It seems that volunteers are getting ready for the UK COVID challenge trials, bringing along danger. The surprising part here is that the volunteers are intentionally gearing up to become COVID victims. It is all a part of an experiment that may change scientists worldwide regarding the coronavirus concept. On Tuesday, October 20, the UK government revealed details regarding the project’s budget approval. They are granting an investment amount of $43.5 million or 33.6 million pounds for the first stage of the challenge trials.
The fundamental rules of the UK COVID challenge trials include injecting an artificial version of the coronavirus in the volunteers’ bodies. Later, when this part is successful, the scientists will push a dose of the new vaccine to check the results. However, the virus’s intentional injecting will only occur when the scientists receive proper legal approval of the first step. For the entire experiment to function, scientists must assess the smallest dose of the virus in an adult’s healthy body between 18-30 years.
Finally, if scientists can successfully create a version of the coronavirus and measure the minimum injection dose, the whole experiment will undergo ethical and regulatory approval. Later, if the approval result is positive, the final stage of the initial challenge trials will be carried out between January and March next year. The confirmation of the plan is coming from the official spokesperson of the UK Government.
UK COVID challenge trials: a more in-depth insight into the trial process
According to Alok Sharma, Business Secretary, the government and experts in the UK are doing all that is possible to combat the coronavirus. The desperate steps in the process include letting the country’s brightest and best scientists make drastic decisions. All of it is to find the most effective and safe vaccine to treat the symptoms of COVID-19. hVIVO, a specialist pharmaceuticals organization, is carrying out the latest trials. Moreover, Open Orphan Inc., a subsidiary of hVIVO responsible for the experiment, claims that they are the ‘best’ for challenging trials.
After completing the trial Stage-I, hVIVO will submit a report regarding their observation addressing the UK government. The report may also come along with a proposal for permission to carry out the trials further. After submitting the information and proposal in November, the government ethical and medical regulators will go through the same. The Chief Medical Officer of hVIVO, Martin Johnson, says that they hope for positive results only.
According to Martin Johnson, there is still no green light for the team to experiment with. However, what they have now is an amber signal to keep working on it. Since it will be a massive trial, acquiring government approval will not be an easy task at all. However, they are not losing hope now that everything is so far, so good! Supporters of the trial believe that the experiment will take much less time than actual vaccine trials. Moreover, it means that the general public may not have to wait very long for effective vaccination.
There is a difference of opinion regarding the challenge trials.
On the other hand, critics are placing an argument against the UK COVID challenge trials stating that it is unsafe. They believe that there is still very little clarity regarding the coronavirus. While it is true that young people are less likely to die of COVID-19, the infection may leave them with debilitating health problems. Some experts believe that the difference of opinion is evident at this stage.
The primary reason is that the trials are more of an ethical issue. Presently, there are over 150 vaccines that are undergoing development worldwide. Among the total, a few of the vaccine developers have reached Phase- II as well. The plan is to see what amount of the population requires the actual virus. The remaining will receive the placebo instead.
According to all the studies, volunteers are going to other places to analyze the condition. They test people regularly to see the difference between people who have received the vaccine and who have not. However, the whole process will take quite some time to conclude. Moreover, China is trying to outshine other countries. There, the government is supplying temporary virus to high-risk groups, including health workers.
The UK government presently takes charge of the first three places in the UK COVID challenge trials. They have paid around 2.5 million pounds to secure each position. According to Martin Johnson of hVIVO, the candidates for the other positions are still unknown.