Exposed on Purpose

Human challenge trials, which deliberately expose participants to pathogens to test potential treatments or vaccines, have seen participants inhale flu strains and be bitten by malaria-infected mosquitoes.
 
In the UK, the very first COVID-19 human challenge trial is set to expose 90 individuals to the coronavirus.
 
These trials always raise big ethical questions—especially so for COVID-19, which has no established cure.
 
What’s the advantage? They require far fewer participants than standard trials, and make it possible to study a disease in areas where it doesn’t usually show up.
 
What are they like for participants? Hannah Thomasy digs into some past trials to find out.
 
Undark

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