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Epidemic Ethics: COVID-19 Human Challenge Studies: Is it OK for research participants to volunteer to be infected?

18 May 2020

As widespread use of safe and efficacious vaccines for COVID-19 could save many lives and enable governments to ease restrictive control measures, there is an urgent ethical imperative for well-designed and carefully conducted research to develop such vaccines and increase relevant scientific knowledge regarding SARS-CoV-2. Controlled human infection studies, also known as human challenge studies, have been proposed as one means of testing the many vaccine candidates for SARS-CoV-2. While this has attracted considerable attention with wide calls for COVID-19 challenge studies, the research community is divided over their ethical acceptability.


Controlled Human Infection Challenge Studies:Lessons from Malaria towards COVID-19

3 September 2020

Controlled Human Infection Challenge Studies involve the deliberate infection of healthy volunteers to support clinical vaccine development, These studies have been successfully conducted in the past, for example for malaria. This webinar discussed:

  • the ethical and scientific principles for such studies,
  • outlined the risk mitigation steps taken in previous malaria human challenge studies,
  • explored how this might be applied in the context of COVID-19 vaccine development,
  • and discussed ethical and practical concerns. 



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Further webinars

LSHTM Vaccine Centre Series: Human challenge models to advance vaccines against respiratory pathogens

1DaySooner: The Current Role of Challenge Trials: An Expert Panel