More than 100 leading scientists, including 15 Nobel laureates, wrote an open letter urging volunteers participating in clinical trials to be exposed to the pathogen. This will help significantly speed up vaccine development, scientists say.
The letter is addressed to the director of the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) Francis Collins (Francis Collins), reports CNN. In their message, the scientists say that in trials that provide for the effect of the pathogen on volunteers, research on the effectiveness and safety of drugs will significantly accelerate. The letter was also signed by 2000 volunteers participating in the research.
The authors of the letter emphasize that, under current conditions, the deliberate infection of volunteers does not violate the ethics of clinical trials, since in different countries of the world today there is a decrease in the incidence, and the scientific community does not have time to wait until they become infected in vivo. This is especially important on the eve of the "second wave" of the pandemic, which many epidemiologists predict. The benefits of the rapid development of a vaccine for mass use outweigh the associated risks of this research method. Scientists noted that deliberate infection of volunteers has already been used more than once in the fight against other dangerous infections - for example, in the development of vaccines against malaria, typhoid and influenza.
In early May, the World Health Organization released a document outlining ethical guidelines for human testing of a COVID-19 vaccine. WHO admits the possibility of research on infected people as an emergency measure, subject to a number of essential conditions: voluntary participation, awareness of possible consequences, etc. In addition, trials should include people with the lowest risk of severe illness between the ages of 18 and 30.