The research aims to deepen the understanding of immunity and help design better treatments and vaccines.
British scientists have launched a trial that will deliberately re-expose participants who have been infected with COVID-19 to the coronavirus to check the immune response and see if people are re-infected.
In February, the United Kingdom became the first country in the world to conduct a so-called “challenge test” on humans, in which volunteers were deliberately exposed to COVID-19 to further study the disease caused by the coronavirus.
The study launched on Monday is different from the study announced in February, which aims to reinfect people who previously had COVID-1
Helen McShane, a vaccinologist and research lead researcher at the University of Oxford, said: “The information provided by this work will allow us to design better vaccines and treatments, and to understand whether people are affected by COVID. Protection and how long it lasts.”
She added that this work will help to understand which immune responses can prevent reinfection.
For decades, scientists have been using human challenge tests to learn more about diseases such as malaria, influenza, typhoid and cholera, and to develop treatments and vaccines against these diseases.
The first phase of the trial will seek to establish the minimum dose of coronavirus required to start replication in approximately 50% of participants while producing little to no symptoms. The second phase starting from summer will infect different volunteers with this standard dose.
In the first phase, as many as 64 healthy participants aged 18 to 30 who were infected with the coronavirus at least three months ago will be reinfected with the original SARS-CoV-2 strain.
They will then be quarantined and monitored for at least 17 days, and anyone who develops symptoms will be treated with Regeneron monoclonal antibody.