New UK challenge trial conducts study if people can get coronavirus again
LONDON (UK) – British scientists on Monday introduced a trial which will intentionally expose those who have already had COVID-19 to the coronavirus again to assess immune responses and see if people get reinfected.
The study launched on Monday is different from the announcement in February as it aims to reinfect people who have previously had COVID-19. This is an effort to get more understanding about immunity instead of infecting people for the first time.
Helen McShane, a University of Oxford vaccinologist and chief investigator on the study, said, “The information from this work will allow us to design better vaccines and treatments, and also to understand if people are protected after having COVID, and for how long.”
She added that the work would help understand what immune responses would act as a guard against reinfection.
The first stage of the trial will aim to establish the lowest dose of the coronavirus required so as to start replicating in about 50% of participants, while exposing few to no symptoms. A second phase, likely to start in the summer, will infect different volunteers with that standard dose.
Phase one will have up to 64 healthy participants, aged 18-30, infected with coronavirus at least three months ago will be infected again with the original strain of SARS-CoV-2.
They will then follow quarantine for at least 17 days and will be monitored. Anyone who develops symptoms will be given Regeneron monoclonal antibody treatment.