Friday, October 15

‘I’ve accepted the risk’: volunteering to be exposed to Covid in new trials | Coronavirus


Human challenge trials for the coronavirus are scheduled to begin in the UK, a world first in the global fight against Covid-19.

Healthy adult volunteers between the ages of 18 and 30 will be exposed to the coronavirus in a controlled environment, to learn more about how their body reacts to the virus, how it is transmitted, and how much of the virus is needed to cause infection.

The trial is scheduled to include 90 people. One of them is Alastair Fraser-Urquhart, 18, who signed up “instantly.”

At the Royal Free hospital in London, you will be infected with the virus through a nasal spray or dropper, and then you will be in biocontainment for about 17 days to make sure you do not infect others.

“Challenge trials can accelerate the development of vaccines and better vaccines,” said Fraser-Urquhart, who lives in Stoke-on-Trent. “If we had started them earlier in the pandemic, we could have been distributing vaccines for Christmas. The fact that you have someone who has Covid and is willing to be tested and prodded and prodded helps a lot.

“Of course I have concerns, everyone should do it before going to trial,” he added. “There are risks that we don’t know about. Will I end up with an increased risk of lung cancer in my 50s because I had coronavirus? But it is an integral part. I have accepted those risks. “

His family is not excited, “he said, but” they understand what I am doing and why I am doing it, and they are very supportive. “

Fraser-Urquhart also hopes that challenge trials will have a lasting legacy and will enable earlier vaccine developments in future pandemics.

“Other pandemic diseases are likely to have mortality profiles like Covid, and if we can set a precedent for challenge trials to be used in other pandemics, they may become the norm.”

While participants are not being paid for the trial, they will receive roughly £ 4,500 as compensation, money that Fraser-Urquhart said he hopes to donate to the People’s Vaccine Alliance, which works to gain more equitable access to vaccines around the world.

“I don’t exactly need the money at this point in my life, and I really don’t want it,” he said. “As much as I think compensation is a good thing, there are always people who think that volunteers only do it for compensation, and I think it’s good for you to be public and say that they are not going to accept it.”

Fraser-Urquhart planned to study cancer biomedicine at University College London in September 2020 before joining 1Day Sooner, an organization that advocates for those who want to participate in high-impact medical trials. Despite her work, Fraser-Urquhart said she would never “implore” people to appear in impeachment trials.

“It is a totally personal decision and I encourage people to think carefully about the impact and risks to them. I’m not in the business of begging people to get involved. If you want to be, that’s great, but if people think the stakes are too high, they don’t have to volunteer. “

However, he says he doesn’t think the studies are as “wild” as it may seem.

“A lot of people have done a lot in this pandemic, making a lot of incredible contributions,” he said. “The doctors in the hospitals in the Covid wards did not undergo screening tests and were not between 18 and 30 years old, and at the beginning of the pandemic they did not receive the treatment that we have now. It is not completely out of line with what we have asked other people, and the benefits are simply astronomical. “


www.theguardian.com

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