Young, healthy volunteers are being deliberately infected with the CCP virus in the first human challenge trial in the United Kingdom, with the aim of advancing research into effective vaccines and treatments for COVID-19.
The trial will enable researchers to assess the smallest amount of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus needed to “cause infection and elicit an immune response” in the volunteers, so as to better understand the route of infection and the mode of transmission.
The virus being used is the original strain “produced by” a team of scientists, according to the researchers.
“We expect these studies to offer unique insights into how the virus works and help us understand which promising vaccines offer the best chance of preventing the infection,” Clive Dix, interim chair of the UK Vaccine Taskforce, said in a February press release.
The 90 volunteers—aged between 18 and 30 and who have been screened for potential health risks—are being observed in a “safe and controlled environment” and closely monitored 24/7 by scientists and medically trained personnel, according to the UK government, which is investing 33.6 million pounds ($43.7 million) in the study.
The UK human challenge study will end in May. Participants must test negative twice for the CCP virus before they are allowed to go home, and will continue to be monitored for a year.
Opponents of the study question if it’s necessary, considering that COVID-19 vaccines and treatments are already available.
In an op-ed in Forbes, William Haseltine, a former professor at Harvard Medical School wrote: “There is no need to actively infect healthy individuals when we are going to have real comparison data to work with from the millions of people already vaccinated and the hundreds of millions more who will be vaccinated in the near future. What could possibly be the reason behind actively infecting healthy people while the same data could be garnered through other, less risky means?”
Dr. Lee Merritt, an orthopedic surgeon and a member of America’s Frontline Doctors, said it doesn’t make sense for the studies to be conducted now when scientific data shows the use of certain federally approved drugs can treat COVID-19.
“The answer is not to make more people sick, but to allow the already approved tested drugs that work—ivermectin, hydroxychloroquine, along with [vitamin] D and zinc,” Merritt told The Epoch Times. “The real crime is covering up treatment we know works.”
Merritt claims that hydroxychloroquine (used in combination with zinc) and ivermectin prescribed for human consumption can prevent and treat COVID-19, but governmental health agencies are promoting vaccines as the only option to reduce the risk of severe illness.
However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that people may still get infected and transmit the virus to others after vaccination. Furthermore, “experts are still learning more about how long vaccines protect against COVID-19 in real-world conditions.”
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) “cautions against use of hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine for COVID-19 outside of the hospital setting or a clinical trial” and says it hasn’t “approved ivermectin for use in treating or preventing COVID-19” even though the regulatory agency hasn’t reviewed data supporting the use of ivermectin.
Merritt also says that the vaccines are experimental because the phase 3 trials of Pfizer-BioNTech and Johnson & Johnson are still ongoing and won’t be completed until January 2023, and Moderna’s won’t be completed until October 2022.
All three COVID-19 vaccines have been granted an emergency authorization, meaning the vaccines only need to show that they “may be effective” and are issued only when there are “no adequate, approved, and available alternative to the product for diagnosing, preventing, or treating the disease or condition,” according to the FDA.
Researchers said that the goal of the human challenge trial is to eventually “study how vaccines work in the body to stop or prevent COVID-19, to look at potential treatments and study the immune response.”
“There are so many unknowns about this disease,” Merritt said. “To now go to human transmission studies when you haven’t completely sorted out what you’re dealing with, I think is premature and not what we need to be doing right now. We need to absolutely get a handle on whether this is even out in the world anymore.”