U.K. Approves Clinical Trial That Will Deliberately Expose Volunteers to the COVID-19 Virus

It's a good idea, but it should have been done much earlier.


Regulators in the United Kingdom have just authorized the first COVID-19 human challenge trial, in which volunteers will be deliberately exposed to the coronavirus. The researchers hope to determine how much of the virus is necessary to cause an infection, how the immune system reacts to the virus, and how infected people transmit the virus to others.

Ninety healthy volunteers, aged 18 to 30, will be involved in the trial, which will begin in March. (The chances of someone in that age group dying of COVID-19 are estimated at around 1 in 14,000.) The volunteers will be closely watched in a controlled environment and will have access to immediate treatments for the disease. They will also be compensated with payments of around £4,500 ($6,300) over the course of a year.

The U.K. government adds that the experiment could lead to subsequent trials in which "vaccine candidates, which have proven to be safe in clinical trials, could be given to small numbers of volunteers who are then exposed to the Covid-19 virus, helping to identify the most effective vaccines and accelerate their development."

If human challenge trials had been allowed earlier, they could have significantly sped up the development and deployment of COVID-19 vaccines, saving tens of thousands of lives and sparing millions the misery of illness.

Moderna started its phase 1 COVID-19 vaccine trial on March 15, 2020. The vaccine was injected into 45 participants to evaluate its safety, its proper dosing, and its initial efficacy based on antibody response in patients. In a press release on May 18, 2020, Moderna reported that the resulting data showed that the vaccine "elicits an immune response of the magnitude caused by natural infection." Based on subsequent data, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) allowed the company to launch a conventional phase 3 efficacy trial on July 27, 2020. That trial enrolled 30,000 participants over several months, dosing half of them with the vaccine and the other half with a placebo. The company then set them loose and watched to see if there was a difference in how many of each group eventually got COVID-19.

The company reported on November 16, 2020, that 90 people in the placebo group became infected while 5 people in the vaccine group did—an efficacy rate of 94.5 percent. Based on these stellar results, the FDA issued an Emergency Use Authorization for the vaccine on December 18, 2020.

Compared to the usual testing and regulatory approval process, this was warp speed. But imagine instead of a phase 3 trial that Moderna had been authorized to test its vaccine in a human challenge trial.

A few hundred volunteers would have been divided into vaccinated and placebo groups, just as in a conventional phase 3 trials. But instead of waiting around for participants to become infected as they go about their lives, all of the volunteers would have been deliberately exposed to the virus while being medically monitored in a controlled environment. Such a trial could have revealed that the Moderna vaccine was highly effective within a month and half, or perhaps even less. The FDA could have authorized emergency use of the vaccine before the end of September. At that time, diagnosed cases in the U.S. numbered around 7.5 million (now 28.4 million) and deaths were at 212,000 (now 502,000).

The COVID-19 vaccines might have been rolled out two months earlier, before the deadly winter surge took off in the northern hemisphere. More human challenge trials for other proposed vaccines should be set up now, to stem the pandemic faster.

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  1. Or, they could just let people live their lives and go about their days without the frenetic impositions of public health theatrics. Had we done so from the start, we probably would have discovered fairly quickly that we are not dealing with the plague.

    1. You say this like totalitarian regulation of individuals and totalitarian regulation of drug manufacturers are two alternatives we must choose from. How about, you know, an actual free society?

  2. The idea that people can choose whether or not to take risks is based on the out-dated notion that people own themselves. When your life, your health, and your welfare is the property of the state, it’s not your call to make as to whether or not you want to risk it.

  3. I hope you catch it and die.

    That’s what people usually say when you suggest ideas like this. However I’ve been advocating voluntary immunity from the beginning despite the hate. (You have to be very careful because they will also flag you for disinformation to get you banned.)

    Having said that – thank you Reason for not banning me (yet) today!

  4. And I suggest a clinical trial that deliberately exposes politicians to Ebola, and I get a visit from the feds.

    1. Ebola doesn’t exist. It’s a 1970’s psyop that was used to project soft power and for resource extraction in Africa. In 2014, the whole thing was fake – this was observed by Helen Lauer of the University of Ghana. The true purpose was to move AFRICOM from Stuttgart to Liberia. Doctors Without Borders really needs to be named Spies without Borders. The symptoms of Ebola are identical to scurvy, and this happens in Africa because they have a monocrop dependence on stored Cassava after a bad harvest season.

      Here’s a podcast on how Ebola science does not prove the exist:

  5. …Moderna reported that the resulting data showed that the vaccine “elicits an immune response of the magnitude caused by natural infection.”

    Why the eff am I forced (through undue societal pressure and the upcoming social credit system) to get the vaccine when I’ve already had the actual infection?

    Also, they gave people a placebo and watched them get the ‘Rona?

    1. Why do you have to wear a mask on an airplane when flying into the country everyone on the plane has paperwork to show they tested negative in the last 48 hours?

  6. So a vaccine that is currently available was too slow to roll out whereas future Coronavirus vaccines (not yet available) will be fast to the market because of this human trial?

  7. How many more people will SleepyJoe murder with the China virus?

  8. “You want a good magazine? Reason magazine… It’s a magazine for libertarians. It’s a magazine for everybody. It’s a magazine for the world. Reason magazine: A good, good magazine.”
    Rush Limbaugh

  9. Nothing can stem this pandemic faster. Look at the trend lines. It’s over in weeks.

    1. Seasonality continues to trump anything we try, but the media says all the experts are baffled.

      Maybe we should have been listening to the people who have correctly predicted what’s going to happen.

  10. O/T but holy fuck –

    Palm Beach Police Show Up To Woman’s House Over Social Media Posts

    And then they refuse to ID the civilian (probably CPS) that was accompanying them.

    1. Welcome to the USSA.

      I’ll give tepid credit to the cop for not threatening her or drawing it out too long. Part of him has to realize how inappropriate it is…

      1. I won’t give him credit. He won’t answer questions because she took the 5th? Fuck him.

      2. This is why I don’t use facebook. There are too many busybodies policing what everyone does to say anything important under my real name.

  11. I see your point, but in all fairness the virus was believed, a year ago, to be much more lethal than we now know it is. If there was less enthusiasm for human challenge trials then, it was certainly understandable.

    This is one of the points about science the acolytes of Scientism in the media and government miss: with science, our understanding of the world is fluid, and new facts routinely debunk old facts. We know a lot more about COVID-19 than we did in March of 2020. The shame is that policies continue to be enforced based on the understanding of March 2020.

    1. In all fairness, we knew the virus was relatively innocuous to young and healthy people even a year ago:

      The obvious solution is herd immunity. Young and healthy people can treat COVID patients without protection and otherwise remain in isolation to prevent infecting others. They will have at worst mild symptoms and after 2 weeks will have immunity. And yes I eagerly volunteer!

      You are just making excuses for cowardice. But that’s why we lost the battle and why we’ll keep losing if you fight only your allies here in your safe space.

    2. If it was as deadly as erroneously suspected, the policies enacted would have been even more ineffective and counterproductive as they are now.

  12. I don’t see any ethical problem with injecting people with a known infectious and potentially serious even lethal disease. Oh wait.

    OK Ronald. Here is the syringe. You do it and take responsibility for the consequences.

  13. OK Ronald. Here is the syringe

    I’d chip in to make that happen.

  14. 90 /15000 = .6% infection rate with placebo.
    Knowing the RT_PCR test is bogus with over 80% false positive results, why the fuck do we need a vaccine?
    Oh, never mind. Some body is long Vaseline.

  15. How do they expose people to a virus that has yet to be properly isolated or purified?

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