Vaccine researchers want to infect thousands of Volunteers specifically with the Coronavirus

A group of Volunteers with a potentially fatal Virus to infect, to be able to mankind faster and faster in front of this protect: What may sound like something out of a Science Fiction Film, before the floats of the initiators of the campaign “1Day Sooner” actually is. The Team of the US-American doctoral students Chris Bakerlee of Harvard University is looking for people who would be potentially ready, aimed at Covid-developing 19, so as to accelerate the development of a vaccine. More than 14,000 people from more than 100 countries have already registered.

Method is debated among scientists

Clinical studies for the development of a vaccine consist of several phases. First of all, the drug is tested on compatibility, then later on its effectiveness. For this purpose, some subjects get administered to the active ingredient, a second group receives a Placebo or a standard therapy. A classic way to check then, who infected naturally with the agent and who is not.


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The Problem is that If a pathogen is not particularly widespread, can be tens of thousands of study participants needed. In addition, this test can take a phase, then for a very long time. Here the idea of “1Day Sooner” comes in: Theoretically, you could bring all the subjects – both the vaccinated as well as those who received a Placebo – with the Coronavirus in contact and then look, who is ill and who is not. Then you would need less study participants and might be faster with the Tests, according to the initiators of the “1Day Sooner”.

But such “Human Challenge Trials” – the English term is – are debated among scientists. Some emphasize the great Benefits that could have such studies for a whole society. Others Express ethical concerns and references to enormous health risks, which could have the infection with a and in many respects still unexplored pathogens such as Sars-CoV-2.

In the 1970s, Volunteers were infected with Cholera

“In view of the special circumstances of the pandemic, our model Framework and our analysis, a basis for Sars-CoV 2-support to set Challenges,” writes a Team led by first author Seema Shah of Northwestern University in Chicago, in the journal “Science”. The authors stress that risks need to be minimized for study participants, personnel and third parties.

The initiators of the “1Day Sooner” referring to your Homepage on the “Human Challenge Trials” in the past. So were infected in the 1970s, volunteers in the USA with Cholera, the efficacy of a vaccine-testing candidates. In various studies, Volunteers were also Malaria-causative agent administered.

In Germany there have been similar studies with volunteer Infected in this Form, yet never says the medical historian Norbert Paul of the University of Mainz. However, you would be in the current corona crisis conceivable? Purely theoretically – it is both the Paul-Ehrlich-Institute (PEI) and the ethics Commission would then have to agree to it. PEI President Klaus Cichutek but explained recently: “There is a certain amount of technical discussion to the so-called Human Challenge Trials. We can deal with, maybe later once more. But that’s not the Trend.”

“So, a Challenge study would be an absolute exception,” emphasizes Joerg Hasford, chair of the working group of Medical ethics commissions in Germany, with reference to the German Canon of values. “Because we have in Germany after the experiences of the third Reich is very, very high ethical and legal Standards.” The Nazis had carried out in the concentration camps of Detainees of cruel medical experiments.

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“At the moment, we have, for example, a very effective therapy, it would be represented, of course, ethically relatively easily,” says Hasford. The physician refers to the originally for the treatment of Ebola developed in the medium Remdesivir, the hardship program for Corona is in Germany, currently only available within a drug available to patients: “so, If, for example, shows that you would Remdesivir a very good, effective therapy for the most serious histories, and taking subjects that are not definitely belong to the risk group, then I could imagine that you do something like that in Germany.”

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A further requirement would be for Hasford, however, that the participants in the study showed understandable that you would have understood what they were getting into: “It would create to the understanding of the informed consent, after being informed, sure of very high standards.” Also needs to be ensured that Remdesivir’m also really available.

Restrained by the Federal Association of the Pharmaceutical industry, commented: “The process of infection of Volunteers with a potentially deadly pathogen is unusual,” – said in a Statement on dpa request. Basically, it was very welcome when Volunteers for clinical trials were.

A “Human Challenge Trial” to the trial of a Corona vaccine, but tend to be more in the future. Only a small part of the more than 100 vaccine projects currently in the world, will ever be has already been tested in clinical studies with volunteers. Suppose you would want to plan a “Human Challenge Trial” in Germany, there is a need that, according to the Hasford some lead-time: “six months is not realistic.”

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