Covid-19 Antivirals Taskforce launched

Henrietta Strickland
April 21, 2021

Their study will also look at the response of the immune system after getting reinfected with SARS-CoV-2. "Second, we will measure the immune response at several time points after infection so we can understand what immune response is generated by the virus".

They will also investigate how the immune system reacts to the virus a second time.

The first stage of the trial will seek to establish the lowest dose of the coronavirus needed in order for it to start replicating in about 50% of participants, while producing few to no symptoms. In a second phase of the study, a different group of patients will be given that dose and studied for their immune responses, Oxford said. Researchers will test the baseline of immune response of volunteers before they infect them and then measure the amount of virus they can detect after the infection.

Researchers are looking for 64 healthy, previously Covid-infected volunteers from 18 to 30 years old to be studied under controlled, quarantined conditions for at least 17 days, the United Kingdom university said Monday.

"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", said Helen McShane, a University of Oxford vaccinologist and chief investigator on the study.

The virus used in the study will be the original strain from Wuhan, China.

The participants will be quarantined in a specially designed hospital suite for a minimum of 17 days under the care of the research team.

They will undergo numerous medical tests including CT scans of the lungs and MRI scans of the heart. But the United Kingdom university has assured that all those enrolled will be completely fit, healthy, and fully recovered from their first Covid infection.

Participants who develop Covid symptoms will be treated with an antibody drug from Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc that's been authorized by U.S. regulators, Oxford said. The trial participants will only be discharged if they are no longer infected and at risk of spreading the disease.

Critics of challenge trials have pointed out the ethical dangers of infecting people without being sure of its long-term consequences. The full length of the study will be 12 months, including a minimum of eight follow-up appointments after discharge.

Chris Chiu, a researcher from Imperial College London working on the previously announced human challenge trial, says this new study, in conjunction with his work investigating preliminary infections, will offer valuable data.

Through securing a supply chain and stockpile of the drug, we were able to ensure quicker distribution to tackle the effects of COVID-19.

The government's new Antivirals Taskforce has been set up to help find new treatments and get them to us as soon as possible - in fact they're hoping to make two treatments available by autumn. "Keeping up the pace of scientific research and development, through crucial studies such as this remain the only way we will truly get ahead of this pandemic and bring it under control", she said.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

Discuss This Article