Paid volunteers will be deliberately infected with COVID-19 in the coming weeks as part of the United Kingdom's studies on the novel coronavirus.
Intentional Infection for Study
The study will be conducted at a London hospital wherein the group of thoroughly screened and unvaccinated volunteers will have tiny droplets of COVID-19 administered into their nostrils.
Screened and approved participants will be paid an estimated $6,200 for their contributions to the study as the volunteers will have to be isolated for two weeks at the London hospital.
The plan is to first expose healthy, unvaccinated volunteers aged between 18 and 30 to the virus to determine the lowest dose that will infect people who have yet to be vaccinated.
After the exposure to the virus, the researchers are looking to expose vaccinated people to the fast-spreading disease to compare the effectiveness of different vaccines and which vaccines will keep vaccinated people from getting infected.
Professor at the Imperial College London, Peter Openshaw, said that the team is expecting to "learn an awful lot about the immunology of the virus."
Openshaw and the other scientists involved in the study are hoping to discover more detailed information about how fast the human immune system responds to COVID-19.
Much concern has been raised in the past over deliberately infecting people with viruses, especially after the idea emerged during the early weeks of the pandemic.
British Government's Take on Research
In a statement released on Wednesday, the British government said the study will be conducted "in a safe and controlled environment."
The government's statement added that scientists will initially use the earlier COVID-19 variant that was earlier proved to be of lower risk for young adults who were generally healthy.
While the study is expected to help contribute largely to now limited research about the virus, there has been concern about the potential long-term effects of getting infected with COVID-19 even among healthy, young adults.
Long-Term Consequences of COVID-19 Exposure
Among the latest data that researchers found regarding the novel coronavirus is many patients who were hospitalized for severe symptoms were later found to have heart damage.
In the study published in the European Heart Journal, it was found that heart damage was present in more than half of severe patients months after they were discharged from hospitalization.
The study also found that COVID-19 patients with increased levels of protein troponin developed a higher risk of heart damage and death.
While the study found critical information about the long-term effects of the disease, it couldn't look deeper into the extent of heart damage that COVID-19 can bring.
Another recent study discovered, for the first time, nodules at the back of some coronavirus patients' eyes, indicating that severe patients could be at risk of eye abnormalities.
The study, initiated by the French Society of Neuroradiology and published earlier this week at the medical journal Radiology, found significant eye problems in the eyes of some patients whose COVID-19 symptoms were at the severe level.
In the said research, seven of the nine patients who experienced severe symptoms were either intubated or spent some time at the ICU.