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Young People Could Be Given Nearly £5,000 To Be Re-Exposed To Covid-19

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Young People Could Be Given Nearly £5,000 To Be Re-Exposed To Covid-19

If you've had the coronavirus already and fancy helping out with research into how the body will react if it's contracted for a second time, you could be on the way to making almost £5,000.

As part of a new UK study, healthy and young volunteers are being called on, to be deliberately exposed to the virus for a second time to see how the immune system reacts.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

Researchers at the University of Oxford have launched what is known as a 'human challenge' trial to look at what happens when someone who has recovered from Covid-19 infection is then re-exposed to the virus.

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The aim is to be able to determine what dose of the virus is needed for re-infection after natural infection, how the immune system responds, and what this may mean for developing protective immunity against the disease.

The study, which is funded by the Wellcome Trust and is expected to start this month after receiving ethics approval, will recruit people aged 18-30 who have previously been naturally infected with Covid-19.

They will be re-exposed to the virus in a safe and controlled environment while a team of researchers monitor their health.

The participants will be quarantined for 17 days under and cared for by the research team at a hospital until they are no longer at risk of infecting others.

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Those who develop symptoms will be given a monoclonal antibody treatment developed by Regeneron, which contains laboratory-made antibodies that have shown to reduced the risk of disease progression in clinical trials.

The full length of the study will be 12 months, which will include eight follow-up appointments after discharge.

Helen McShane, professor of vaccinology at the University of Oxford's department of paediatrics and chief investigator on the study, confirmed that those taking part will be reimbursed for their efforts, which will be just under £5,000 for each participant.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA
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Explaining the reasons behind the study, Prof McShane said: "Challenge studies tell us things that other studies cannot because, unlike natural infection, they are tightly controlled.

"When we re-infect these participants, we will know exactly how their immune system has reacted to the first Covid infection, exactly when the second infection occurs, and exactly how much virus they got.

"As well as enhancing our basic understanding, this may help us to design tests that can accurately predict whether people are protected."

Credit: PA
Credit: PA
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The Oxford study will take phase in two phases. The first of which will involve 64 healthy volunteers and will aim to establish the lowest dose of virus which can take hold and start replicating.

Once the dosing amount is established, it will be used to infect participants in the second phase of the study, which is expected to start in the summer.

Prof McShane went on to add: "We will measure the immune response at several time points after infection so we can understand what immune response is generated by the virus.

"A challenge study allows us to make these measurements very precisely because we know exactly when someone is infected.

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"The information from this work will allow us to design better vaccines and treatments, and also to understand if people are protected after having Covid, and for how long."

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: UK News, News, UK, Covid-19

Rebecca Shepherd
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