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Top scientists call for Covid-19 to test vaccines volunteers

Published Jul 19, 2020

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CAPE TOWN- Over 100 prominent scientists, including 15 Nobel laureates, epidemiologists, and medical doctors are calling for thousands of healthy volunteers to step forward and allow themselves to be exposed to Covid-19 for the purposes of vaccine testing.

The group of scientists have written an

“The rationale for human challenge trials is that they can greatly accelerate the development of a Covid-19 vaccine,” scientists said in the letter.

“Human challenge trials can provide information much faster than conventional efficacy trials, which take months longer. In such trials, volunteers still receive the vaccine candidate or a control. Instead of resuming life as usual and waiting to ‘catch’ a virus, volunteers are deliberately exposed to the pathogen under controlled conditions. Beyond being faster than conventional trials, a challenge test is likelier to conclude with interpretable results, e.g. should the presence of virus around the study site begin to fade over time.”

The group of scientists said if the trials safely and effectively speed the vaccine development process, there could be a presumption in favor of their use, which would require a very compelling ethical justification to overcome.

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