8 Mar 2020

Coronavirus vaccine: Volunteers offered £3,500 to be infected with the bug

London coronavirus: The East London lab where volunteers will be infected with virus to find a vaccine.

They'll reportedly be paid £3,500 for the risk.

Brave volunteers can now sign up to take part in a clinical trial where they'll be infected with a strain of coronavirus in a global effort to find a vaccine.

According to reports, they'll get paid £3,500 to spend two weeks in quarantine, which might sound tempting at first, but they won't be allowed physical contact with the outside world.

The unit, based in East London, will test up to 24 people at a time with the aim to find a vaccine by next winter, to help protect the elderly and those with underlying health problems in 'flu season'.

Volunteers will be kept in a unit at Queen Mary BioEnterprises Innovation Centre in Whitechapel after being infected with two common strains of coronavirus, 0C43 and 229E, which cause only a mild respiratory illness. These are different to the Covid-19 coronavirus which is currently sweeping the world.

The idea is to allow researchers and pharmaceuticals firms to test the efficacy of new viruses and antiviral medications in a safe environment.

The guinea pigs will feel the symptoms of a cough or a cold, which would model those of Covid-19, and it's thought that any treatment used against these viruses successfully could work in the real world too.

Before being selected volunteers will be quizzed on their medical history and undergo blood, urine and cardiac tests. Participants will visit the lab to be inoculated two weeks before going into isolation for 14 days.

Nurses and doctors will enter the room for regular nasal swabs, blood tests and to collect any dirty tissues (which are later weighed to measure their “viral load”) and will be required to wear protective clothing and ventilators.

During those two weeks, participants will be unable to exercise or have any physical contact with other people - even the food they eat will be tightly controlled.

The most effective drugs and new or existing vaccines will then be fast-tracked into real-world testing against Covid-19.

Those interested in joining the global fight can find out more on this website FluCamp.com.

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