Researchers in the UK are trying to figure out what kind of immune response would protect COVID-19 patients recovering from reinfection. And for this, they are looking for volunteers who are willing to be reinfected by the novel coronavirus again.
Reported first by the Guardian, this research may sound a bit surprising, especially to someone who has recovered from the deadly disease, but authorities have given approval to conduct a trial at the University of Oxford.
The study will take healthy individuals who have successfully recovered from the novel coronavirus from the age group of 18 to 30 years, at least three months before entering the study and have antibodies to the novel coronavirus still in their bodies.
The study will be conducted in two phases – phase I will look at a total of 24 volunteers – who will try to find the lowest dose of SARS CoV-2 that can cause infection while producing few or no symptoms in test subjects.
The second phase will be attended by 10 to 40 volunteers who will receive the dose determined in the first phase. With this study, the researchers aimed to study the levels of antibodies or T-cells needed to protect against reinfection.
After being exposed to the virus, the participants will be quarantined for 17 days while being closely monitored and will undergo several tests including CT scans of the lungs and MRI of the heart as well.
Participants who develop symptoms of COVID-19 will be treated with the monoclonal antibody Regeneron, which has been shown to reduce the risk of hospitalization due to COVID-19.
They will be observed for at least eight months after recovering from the second infection. Each participant will receive nearly £ 5,000 for inclusion in the study.
According to the researchers, the first phase of the study is scheduled to begin this month, with the second phase expected to begin in the summer.