British regulators have approved the first trial for the human coronavirus challenge in the world, in which volunteers will be deliberately exposed to the virus to study the spread of the infection.
The government said Wednesday that the British regulator for the ethical testing of clinical trials has approved a trial that will begin within a month. The goal is to develop more effective vaccines and treatments for COVID-19.
Researchers are looking for up to 90 volunteers between the ages of 18 and 30, who will be exposed to COVID-19 “in a safe and controlled environment.”
The study will try to determine the minimum amount of virus needed to cause the infection.
Young people are asked to volunteer because they have the lowest risk of serious coronavirus diseases. Study participants will be monitored 24 hours a day.
Britain is aiming for a “cautious but irreversible” plan to get out of the coronavirus blockade, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday, as the first batch of passengers entered the imposed and expensive new hotel quarantine regime.
The government is targeting another 17 million people by the end of April, including all people over the age of 50, plus starting with other doses for the first wave.
The government intends to draw up a roadmap next Monday to alleviate the third-tier house stay in England, which has closed schools, unimportant businesses and restaurants since early January.
Schools could reopen on March 8, officials hope, and Johnson said he would determine “as much as we can about the path to normalcy, although some things are very uncertain.”
“Because we want this lock to be the last and we want progress to be cautious but also irreversible.”
With more than 117,000 deaths in Covid, Britain is one of the hardest hit countries in the world. But the daily number of new cases on Monday fell below 10,000 for the first time since Oct. 4.
Health Minister Matt Hancock said there was “some time” before the restrictions were eased, adding that the government was waiting for key data on the impact of vaccines on transmission.