On Monday, the University of Oxford reported that they commenced a trial in which people who already won the fight with COVID-19 are deliberately reinfected.
The precisely controlled study will analyze the immune response of the volunteers.
The scientists will determine “exactly when the second infection occurs, and exactly how much virus they got,” stated Helen McShane, a professor of vaccinology in the same study.
She added that the trial might help scientists to design tests that can very precisely predict if people are indeed protected after a former infection.
Anyone who experiences symptoms will receive the Regeneron antibody treatment that is commonly used on COVID-19 patients.
The Wellcome Trust backs up the University’s “First-of-a-kind” tests.
At the beginning of the trial, up to 64 individuals between the ages of 18 and 30 will be reinfected with the original Wuhan strain.
They will then be quarantined for 17 days or more in a custom hospital suite, receiving constant lung and heart scans.
They will then get follow-up appointments and be monitored over a year.
Shobana Balasingam, a vaccines senior research advisor at Wellcome, said that the study has the chance to transform the scientists’ understanding by offering high-quality data.
The first phase of the trial will analyze the minimum dose that helps the virus start replicating without significant symptoms in some 50% of volunteers.
Then in the second phase, the second group of volunteers will receive the established minimum dose.
The trial comes as a follow-up London hospital experiment, which isolated a group of healthy volunteers while exposing them to the virus in a world first.
The infected individuals are controlled and monitored to see how the illness evolves and how vaccines and drugs can help their bodies win the fight.