Young people who have previously had COVID-19 are going to be deliberately exposed to the virus for a second time – in a new study that aims to see how their immune systems react.
The University of Oxford’s “human challenge” trial also hopes to discover what dose of coronavirus is needed to cause a reinfection, and what this may mean for developing protective immunity against the disease.
People aged 18 to 30 who have previously been naturally infected with COVID will be recruited and re-exposed to the virus in a safe, controlled environment.
Participants will be quarantined for 17 days and cared for by researchers at a hospital until they are no longer at risk of infecting others, and they will receive just under £5,000 as payment.
Recent research has suggested that prior infection may not fully protect young people in the future, with an observational study performed in the US indicating that 10% of participants ended up getting reinfected.
Human challenge studies have played a key role in furthering the development of treatments for diseases including malaria, tuberculosis, typhoid, cholera and flu.