The new Antivirals Taskforce, which is yet to appoint a chair, will search for the most promising potential antiviral medicines which can be taken at home. We will then be able to understand what kind of immune responses protect against re-infection.
In the United Kingdom, similar research involving 90 people of the same age group is ongoing at the moment, in which volunteers are infected with the coronavirus in order to test vaccines and treatments on them.
In February, Britain became the first country in the world to give the go-ahead for so-called "challenge trials" in humans, in which volunteers are deliberately exposed to Covid-19 to advance research into the disease caused by the coronavirus. They will be re-exposed to the virus in a safe and monitored environment, while a team of researchers keeps track of their progress in fighting it.
While there has been much public discussion about Covid vaccines protecting the most vulnerable and stopping infection spread, advancements in treatments for coronavirus have received less media coverage. Additionally, the study will also determine how much virus, on average, it takes to infect someone who's had the virus earlier.
The first phase, involving 64 healthy volunteers, will aim to establish the lowest dose of virus which can take hold and start replicating. After the dosing amount has been determined, it will be used to infect participants in the study's second phase, which is set to begin this summer.More news: Navalny to be transferred to hospital for convicts
British scientists have launched a trial which will deliberately expose participants who have already had COVID-19 to the virus again to examine immune responses.
Professor Helen McShane, the chief investigator, said: "Challenge studies tell us things that other studies can not because, unlike natural infection, they are tightly controlled".
"A challenge study allows us to make these measurements very precisely because we know exactly when someone is infected".
"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", Helen McShane, professor of vaccinology at the Department of Paediatrics, University of Oxford and chief investigator on the study, said in part in the release.
Volunteers who develop symptoms will be given an antibody treatment to help them fight off the infection.More news: After criticism, Biden says he will raise USA cap on refugee admissions
While vaccines and previous infections provide some immune protection against the coronavirus, concerns and doubts remain about how long it lasts.
Within 12 months of the study's duration, the scientists will conduct at least eight follow-up check-ups after being discharged.
The research team explained that a human challenge trial in medical research is a carefully controlled study that involves purposefully infecting a subject with a pathogen or bug, in order to study the effects of that infection.
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