Since Sir Edward Jenner performed the first documented HVC study with smallpox on the 14th of May 1796 the usefulness of such studies has been apparent. More than a century later, Sir Christopher Andrews returned from the US in 1931 he had observed the use of chimpanzees in the study of influenza. The funding for similar work in the UK was insufficient, and therefore Sir Christopher enrolled students from St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London. He explained the next best thing would be a “Bart’s” student as “they were cheaper than chimpanzees”. Over 100 students immediately enrolled, but continued their studies and were not isolated in the same way the chimpanzees had been in the USA. Unfortunately, the investigators believed that the symptoms observed may not have been due to the challenge virus, but other respiratory infections acquired in the community, thus confounding the studies. A year later, the UK’s Medical Research Council (MRC) terminated the work.
27 Nov 2019