British researchers said that they will conduct a one-year study to deliberately infect people who have recovered from COVID-19 to study whether people are infected for the second time and to see if there is a special immune response that can protect them.
According to the Oxford University research team, the so-called challenge test will be conducted under carefully controlled conditions, in case one of the volunteers is ill.
“Challenge studies tell us things that other studies cannot because, unlike natural infection, they are tightly controlled. When we re-infect these participants, we will know exactly how their immune system has reacted to the first COVID-19 infection, exactly when the second infection occurs, and exactly how much virus they got,” Dr. Helen McShane, a vaccine expert at the University of Oxford, said in a statement.
CNN reported that the first phase of the study will begin this month and will find the lowest dose of the virus that can infect half of the coronavirus survivors without causing symptoms. Then all 64 volunteers will be infected by this dose. Their immune response will be studied.
Any volunteers who develop symptoms will be treated with Regeneron’s monoclonal antibody and will be isolated until they are not at risk of infecting others.