Human Trial Challenges Approved, ’10m Waiting List’

Editor’s note, February 17, 2021: This article was updated with today’s daily data.

These are the British stories about the coronavirus that you need to know about today.

Approved trials for human challenges

The UK is the first country in the world to ethically approve trials for the COVID-19 human challenges.

The study should begin within a few weeks, and up to 90 healthy volunteers aged 18-30 are exposed to the ‘native’ strain of the virus in a ‘safe and controlled environment’.

The interim chair of the Vaccine Working Group, Clive Dix, said: “We expect these studies to provide a unique insight into how the virus works and help us understand which promising vaccines offer the best chance of preventing infection.”

Chief Investigator Dr. Chris Chiu of Imperial College London said: “Our ultimate goal is to establish which vaccines and treatments work best in the fight against this disease, but we need volunteers to support us in this work.”

Dr Charlie Weller, head of the vaccine at the Wellcome Trust, commented through the Science Media Center that the ethics committee’s approval was “a very encouraging and important step”.

She added: “As with any study on human infection, there are clear ethical considerations. The safety of volunteers is paramount and regulatory approval has passed the highest level of assessment. Given that current treatment options for COVID-19 are limited, it is important that volunteers come from the lowest risk groups and are closely monitored during the study. ”

’10m waiting list’

A report by the Reform Research Organization and Edge Health says the official NHS waiting list could grow to more than 10 million by April in the “worst case scenario”.

The report says: “A year after this crisis and with a slight insight, it is clear that too little is taken into account the implications of a complete reallocation of resources beyond” normal business “.”

It highlights the impact of canceled diagnostic tests with “estimates that there will be an 11-month delay in diagnosing and treating 11,300 … patients with lung cancer compared to the usual 5-6 month wait. It is estimated that this will result in about 1660 premature deaths only from lung cancer in the next 5 years. “

Today, NHS England brought celebrities on board to encourage people to be tested for cancer if they have a negative test for COVID-19, but if the cough lasts longer than 3 weeks. Among the celebrities are former English cricket captain Sir Andrew Strauss who lost his wife to lung cancer and TV presenter Gaby Roslin whose mother died of an illness.

Professor Sir Paul Cosford, Emeritus Medical Director in Public Health of England and a patient with lung cancer, said: “Having been diagnosed with late-stage lung cancer, I am passionate about this campaign. Nothing can prepare you to be told that you have cancer. And I can’t stress enough the importance of going to a GP as soon as you notice any symptoms, like a cough for 3 weeks or more. The NHS wants to see you. “


The BMA reviewed yesterday’s announcement of an additional 1.7 million people who joined the protection list. Chairman of the BMA Council dr. Chaand Nagpaul said: “Adding a large population to the protection list in the short term is a process that needs to be managed very carefully.”

He added that “the impact of protection on mental health and well-being, at a time when many may have expected mitigation, cannot be underestimated and there must be an appropriate approach to mental health support for those in need.”

Lock facilitation tests

Since Boris Johnson was due to publish a roadmap on Monday to ease England’s lock, the NHS Providers released four tests that they said should be passed first:

  • The number of COVID-19 and R cases must be significantly reduced to prevent the re-emergence of infections as soon as restrictions are eased, as happened last year.

  • NHS capacities had to return to levels where the service could treat all patients in need

  • The vaccination campaign must be sufficiently advanced to ensure an adequate level of protection and to avoid unnecessary death and injury to the patient.

  • We must have a strong and effective strategy to quickly identify and control future epidemics of variant strains that now pose the greatest threat

CEO Chris Hopson said: “The NHS is still in full swing and trust leaders believe this will continue for at least another 6 to 8 weeks.”

He added: “If this is going to be the last national blockade, we need to learn lessons from last year and have a cautious approach.”

Overvoltage test

The Manchester, Norfolk, Southampton and Surrey areas have recently been the target of surge tests for cases of the South African virus variant.

The Department of Health and Welfare said surge tests had been completed in parts of Haringey, Merton and Sefton.

Foreign Minister Dominic Raab told Sky News that national surge testing would be a “key part” of plans to ease the blockade in England and help the country reach an epidemic “like a ton of bricks”.

That could include setting up thousands of daily rapid side-flow tests in homes and businesses, the reports said.

Daily Mail he said the new government slogan would be “Are you ready? Get a test. Go.”

Today’s daily figures show another 12,718 positive tests in the UK and 738 deaths.

Another 1,415 patients with COVID-19 were admitted to the hospital. There are now a total of 20,944 of them, and 2,708 ventilation beds are in use.

As of yesterday, 15.9 million people have received the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, and 558,577 the second dose.

Test and Trace

Only Test and Trace can only suppress the spread of COVID-19 by 1.7% to 4.6%, according to official estimates. This would mean reducing the R number by 0.3 – 0.6.

The paper entitled ‘Technical Annex of the Rùm Model’ published by the Department of Health and Social Welfare states: “The effect of contacting is relatively small.”

‘Science by Press Release’

Politico reported leaked emails from December suggesting that England’s COVID Public Health Response Director Susan Hopkins agreed that ministers were conducting “science by press release” when announcing details about new variants of the virus.

The scientists were not informed until 24 hours after the announcement in the lower house of the Politico parliament.

However, a PHE spokesman was quoted as saying: “Dr Hopkins has absolutely not criticized the Government.”


Public Health Scotland has released new data on last year’s blockade and alcohol use. Retail sales did not completely replace lost purchases in pubs, clubs and restaurants leading to an overall 6% reduction in alcohol sales in Scotland, England and Wales.

Dr Alastair MacGilchrist, Chair of the Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems (SHAAP) commented: “Despite the overall decline in alcohol sales during this period, the weekly average of 17.5 units in Scotland still exceeds the guidelines of the UK’s top health officials of 14 note that sales data underestimate the real picture because they will not record all online sales, and some retailers, especially discounted supermarkets, have not provided sales data. “

He added that “there are concerns that drinking from home contributes to more harmful drinking behavior.”

Prince Philip

The Duke of Edinburgh, 99, was admitted to King Edward VII Hospital in London but is not considered to be linked to COVID.

Buckingham Palace said: “The Duke’s reception is a precautionary measure, on the advice of His Royal Highness’s physician, after a bad feeling.”

He and the Queen received their first dose of coronavirus vaccination last month.

See more global coronavirus updates in Medscape Coronavirus Resource Center.