At the beginning of 2021, a group of scientists carried out a unique and controversial experiment by making 36 volunteers infected with COVID-19.
In the trial, people voluntarily underwent a small dose of the original strain of the coronavirus. The participants were healthy men and women, whose ages ranged from 18 to 30 years.
After they were infected, the volunteers were monitored in a quarantine center for two weeks.
Now, Imperial College London, the institution in charge of the test, has released the results.
The research showed that people who were infected with the virus became symptomatic within two days and remained infectious for more than a week.
None of the participants became seriously ill. However, some of them admitted that they continued to have trouble smelling months after the trial.
Although this test received several criticisms, its defenders assure that this type of human study is carried out safely and provides valuable information on the “natural history” of the infection and the effectiveness of vaccines in reducing infections.
“These data provide a clear platform to now use the human challenge model to accelerate product efficacy testing for new vaccines or antivirals,” explains Christopher Chiu, lead author of the study.
This trial was carried out with a sample of the first variants of SARS-CoV-2, so the researchers now hope to carry out new experiments with the most recent mutations of the virus.