COVID-19 human challenge trials coming at last

Now this is how it’s done.

Let us dispense with the efficacy and placebo silliness. We’re dealing with a virus that is very contagious but not very deadly. The combination of these factors results in high numbers of deaths, but the human animal, preternaturally unable to parse ratios in every day comprehension, answers to absolutes, not fractions.

Healthy, young volunteers will be infected with coronavirus to test vaccines and treatments in the world’s first Covid-19 “human challenge” study, which will take place in the UK.
The study, which has received ethics approval, will start in the next few weeks and recruit 90 people aged 18-30.

They will be exposed to the virus in a safe and controlled environment while medics monitor their health.

The UK has given doses of a Covid vaccine to more than 15 million people.

Human challenge studies have played a vital role in pushing the development of treatments for a number of diseases, including malaria, typhoid, cholera and flu.

Ethics approval.  Why is it the insidious legal “profession” is always present in examples of human stupidity and inefficiency?

It’s COVID-19, not Ebola or Smallpox, or even MERS. Human challenge testing should have begun months ago for a virus that, even on a good day, has a likely IFR of 1%. Volunteers are easy and plentiful because people are simply that way. And what more noble daredevilry than that which “saves” the human race from extinction?

Human challenge studies will inform us more about the sly nature of COVID-19 than vaccine trials filled with self-selected subjects, likely representing the most safety-minded among us, who are used as data points while sharing the stage with placebo subjects. Of course these people are not going to represent the most cases, even in a normal, non-vaccinated context.

This hesitant strategy for measuring efficacy of the vaccine used to treat a virus like COVID-19 is overkill and statistically misleading.

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