An East London company is looking for 24 volunteers to be injected with a strain of COVID-19 in a bid to find a vaccine against the virus.
The firm will reportedly be offering up to £3,500 to those 24 to be infected and then quarantined for two weeks.
But the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, the UK regulator, has to first agree to the plans of company from East London before the research can take place.
Research into at least eight vaccines is ongoing in the UK, and scientists in many other parts of the world are also working hard on developing a jab.
It’s unlikely any vaccine will be ready before the end of the year.
Trials to test any potential vaccines must be tested on humans before they can be manufactured and given to the wider public, this sometimes takes multiple years, such as an Ebola virus vaccine took five years to develop by MSD.
The latest government figures are showing that 61 of the UK’s confirmed cases are in London, with 43 in the South East, 38 in the South West and 35 in the North West of England. 6 in the UK have now died form the virus.
The potential for side effects is a key reason why vaccines often have to wait years before they are given regulatory approval. Vaccines can still end up with potential side effects even after a drug has been approved.
Amidst the swine flu pandemic in around 2009-10, 6 million people were given the Pandemrix vaccine, however, it was then withdrawn from sale after it was revealed the vaccine was causing narcolepsy in some people.
While the world worries about the sustained outbreak of the deadly coronavirus, known as COVID-19, it would be easy to assume that the large pharmaceutical firms are set to make millions, even billions, by rushing to develop a vaccine.
But in reality, this is not the case. Although the global vaccine market is expected to grow to £46 billion this year, large profits are not guaranteed.
Brad Loncar, a biotechnology investor based in the US has said on the matter:
”Successfully developing a preventive vaccine or treatment for a public health crisis is difficult. It typically takes a lot of time and money,”