People / Expert / Humans / Future of Healthcare 2020

Are challenge trials an ethical way to find a vaccine?

Posted On: 22 Sep 2020   |   Posted By: Raconteur

Are challenge trials an ethical way to find a vaccine?

More than 30 possible coronavirus vaccines are in clinical trials worldwide in a bid to squeeze traditional timelines and roll out a vaccination programme in the next six to twelve months. But there are calls to speed up the process further through the use of controversial human challenge trials where volunteers are given an experimental vaccine, then deliberately exposed to the virus.
Despite real safety risks and ethical concerns, there is a burgeoning appetite for these trials. More than 36,000 people from more than 160 countries have expressed a willingness to take part with 1 Day Sooner, an organisation that supports COVID-19 challenge trials.
The organisation published an open letter in July, urging preparation of such trials, which was signed by more than 150 academics and experts, including 15 Nobel laureates.
But the search for a vaccine suffered a temporary setback in early-September when an Oxford University trial with British drugmaker AstraZeneca was paused after a volunteer suffered a possible...

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