As coronavirus infects millions of people around the world, thousands of people who have thus far escaped the virus are volunteering to be infected in the name of finding a vaccine.
Over 16,000 people, many of which are young adults, have flooded the 1 Day Sooner website to volunteer online to be exposed to coronavirus. They have all marked a box next to the statement, "I am interested in being exposed to the coronavirus to speed up vaccine development."
The online registry marks the beginnings of a human-challenge study, one where volunteers sign up to be involved in controlled human infection so they can be studied.
The idea is that rather than waiting for the results of test vaccines organically, volunteers can have the test vaccines administered and then be exposed to the virus soon thereafter. The pathogen is exposed by syringe, cocktail, mosquito bite, or nasal spray.
While there are obvious rewards to this method, perhaps cutting the waiting period for a vaccine short by several months, there are also obvious risks to exposing individuals to coronavirus with vaccines in their systems that may or may not be successful.
On top of the risk of contracting the virus this way, treatment options continue to be limited.
Nir Eyal, a bioethicist, told CNN, "It's an idea that is controversial when people hear about it for the first time. However, we show that if you select people in the right way and conduct the trial in the right way, it's surprisingly low risk and certainly within the bounds of what we already approve."
The study would need the approval of the US Food and Drug Administration to be set forth.
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