The COVID-19 pandemic has already affected over 21 million people and killed more than 771,000 individuals as of Sunday, August 16. Meanwhile, an Australian woman from Brisbane has planned to give herself to Coronavirus, as she hopes that this attempt will help millions of infected people globally.
The 22-year-old Sophie Rose believes that by being a part of a human trial, she can contribute to the vaccine development effort and make a difference. She is the co-founder of 1daysooner which aims to "rapidly accelerate" the deployment of a vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 through trials. Rose is an MHS (Master of Health Science) in Infectious Diseases, Epidemiology Candidate at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
The Hope for Better Future
As reported by the Courier-Mail, Rose, who currently lives in London, said that the benefits of the human trial outweigh the risks and she is more than willing to get infected by the virus. "When I look at everything that's going on in the world at the moment," such as economic crisis, hundreds of deaths due to the virus, which also infected millions of people, "none of this is to mention the consistent toll of people's emotional well being whilst they're working from home," she said.
The organization, 1Day Sooner, has four departments -- Advocacy, Communications, Organizing, and Research. As per the website, these departments work in tandem with COVID-19 challenge trial volunteers.
"Human challenge trials deliberately expose participants to infection, in order to study diseases and test vaccines or treatments. They have been used for influenza, malaria, typhoid, dengue fever, and cholera. Researchers are exploring whether human challenge trials could speed up the development of a vaccine for COVID-19, saving thousands or even millions of lives," stated the website.
Even though what Rose intends to do is noble, such trials may not be ideal at this point of time. The U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) earlier said, "should there be a need for human challenge studies to fully assess candidate vaccines or therapeutics for SARS-CoV-2, NIAID has begun investigations of the technical and ethical considerations of conducting human challenge studies."
Such trials are generally conducted when the spread of a virus is contained and there is a safety net or proven treatment in case a volunteer falls severely ill. Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of NIAID, also voiced his disagreement for encouraging such trials and said it was "not essential or ethically justified" considering there are still unknown factors involved with the Coronavirus.