Volunteers wanted; Get infected with coronavirus for R73,000 in bid to help scientists find vaccine


Volunteers could be paid £3,500 (R73,000) to be infected by a form of coronavirus.

As the race to find a vaccine for the potentially deadly bug continues, volunteers in east London are being paid to endure it.

The willing participants will receive £3,500 to be purposefully infected with the virus and live in quarantine at the Queen Mary BioEnterprises Innovation Centre in Whitechapel.

They will, however, be injected with two common but much less serious strains of the virus reports the Daily Star .

Hvivo, the company behind the laboratory at Queen Mary, will be infecting 24 volunteers at a time with the 0C43 and 229E strains of the virus.

It is thought these strains will cause mild respiratory symptoms and be much less severe than the coronavirus that is currently spreading around the globe

The testing is part of a $2bn global effort to find a vaccine for coronavirus, as Europe has experienced a huge surge in cases in the past two weeks.

Around 35 vaccine candidates have been listed by the World Health Organization (WHO), however Hvivo is not included.

Cathal Friel, executive chairman of Hvivo's parent company, Open Orphan, claim the company is at the 'forefront of the fight against the outbreak'.

Other drugmakers come from across the world, using the insight of scientists from University of Oxford, Imperial College London, University of Queensland and Baylor in New York to name a few.

Researchers in Seattle have also begun recruiting healthy volunteers to participate in a clinical trial for a vaccine developed by the biotechnology company Moderna Therapeutics, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The vaccine trial is expected to launch by the end of April and will take 14 months but volunteers don't need to be quarantined. They will receive up to $1,100 (£836) in total.

All the potential jabs are in the pre-clinical stage, which means they haven't been studied in humans yet.

It takes years to develop new treatments for illnesses because new medicines must be extensively researched in a series of phases.

Usually thousands of people have to take part in the clinical research phase to monitor safety, tolerability and effectiveness in people.

Even if they prove successful, they must be produced on a large scale, which needs billions of dollars, and be vetted by regulators.

Because vaccines for COVID-19 are still in the making across the world, it is unlikely any will be finished in time to halt the current outbreak.

Over 100 countries have now reported laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19.

Eight new territories have reported cases in the past 24 hours – Bulgaria, Costa Rica, Faroe Islands, French Guiana, Maldives, Malta, Martinique, and Republic of Moldova.

The WHO said the passing of 100,000 cases on Friday was a 'sobre moment'.

The UK is reportedly preparing for as many as 100,000 deaths due to the virus. This figure was accepted by Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon who stressed the government is looking at the 'scientific worst case scenario'.

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