Scientists and researchers at a London-based firm are offering people £3500 if they allow themselves to be infected with a milder strain of the deadly Coronavirus. As the outbreak, now declared a pandemic by WHO, continues to spread, the race to develop a vaccine has intensified.
According to news reports, up to 24 people will be paid at a time to be infected with one to two less harmful forms of COVID-19 at a lab in east London. Participants in the experiment will have to observe self-quarantine for 14 days, which includes taking time off work and not having any physical contact with the outside world. The company running the lab, Hvivo, is one small firm out of many participating in the global effort to develop a vaccine.
Testing will reportedly start once Hvivo, the company that runs the quarantine unit at the Queen Mary BioEnterprises Innovation Centre in Whitechapel, has secured permission from the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
Researchers will infect the participants with two common yet milder and thus less fatal strains of COVID-19 ie 0C43 and 229E which will cause mild respiratory illnesses. John Oxford, an expert in virology at the Queen Mary University of London, reportedly said that volunteers would feel the symptoms of a cough or cold, which is similar to COVID-19. He told British media that if the new model works on the virus, it is likely to work in the world.
As per reports, volunteers will be questioned about their medical history and given blood, urine, and cardiac tests before they take part. They will be monitored continuously, have their diets restricted, and be given the best medicines.
Doctors and nurses attending to them will be in full protective gear, including ventilators at all times. They will take nasal swabs, do blood tests and collect any dirty tissues infected with the virus.