The immune response needed to protect people against reinfection with the coronavirus will be explored in a new human challenge trial, researchers have revealed.
Human challenge trials involve deliberately exposing healthy people to a disease-causing organism in a carefully controlled manner, and have proved valuable in understanding and tackling myriad conditions from malaria to tuberculosis and gonorrhoea.
The first human challenge trials for Covid began this year, with the study – a partnership led by researchers at Imperial College London among others – initially looking at the smallest amount of virus needed to cause infection among people who have not had Covid before.
“The point of this study is to determine what kind of immune response prevents reinfection,” said Helen McShane, a professor of vaccinology at the University of Oxford, and chief investigator on the study.
McShane said the team would measure the levels of various components of participants’ immune response – including T-cells and antibodies – and then track whether participants became reinfected when exposed to the virus.
Participants must be healthy, at low risk from Covid, aged between 18 and 30, and must have been infected with the coronavirus at least three months before joining the trial. As well as having previously had a positive Covid PCR test, they must also have antibodies to Covid. Given the timing criteria, McShane said it was likely most participants would have previously been infected with the original strain of the virus.
The first phase of the trial will initially involve 24 participants split into dose groups of three to eight people who will receive, via the nose, the original strain of coronavirus. The idea is to start with a very low dose and, if necessary, increase the dose – up to a point – between groups.
“Our target is to have 50% of our subjects infected but with no, or only very mild, disease,” said McShane, adding that once the dose required to achieve this is determined it will be administered to 10-40 other participants to confirm the dose.
Image Credit: Joseph Prezioso/AFP/Getty Images
Researchers from Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU), in collaboration with Cornell University, have developed a novel targeted therapy for triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) that uses a specially-designed nano-carrier to deliver the Chinese medicine compound [...]
By early 2020, concern was mounting about a new, deadly coronavirus first detected in Wuhan, China. The World Health Organization had declared the coronavirus outbreak a global health emergency just days before. There had been [...]
As a COVID-19 and medical device researcher, I understand the importance of face masks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. So I am intrigued that some mask manufacturers have begun adding graphene coatings [...]
Swansea University scientists have uncovered potentially dangerous chemical pollutants that are released from disposable face masks when submerged in water. The research reveals high levels of pollutants, including lead, antimony, and copper, within the [...]
Bowel cancer survival rates could be improved if chemotherapy drugs were delivered via tiny nanoparticles to the diseased organs rather than oral treatment. That's the finding from Indian and Australian scientists who have undertaken [...]
Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla says his company’s experimental COVID-19 treatment, a pill that can be taken at the first sign of the illness, could be available before the end of the year. Speaking on CNBC, Bourla said clinical [...]
At the University of Chicago, scientists have developed an absolutely innovative, promising treatment for COVID-19 in the form of nanoparticles with the ability to trap SARS-CoV-2 viruses inside the body and use the body’s [...]
Australian researchers have identified neutralizing nanobodies that block the SARS-CoV-2 virus from entering cells in preclinical models. The discovery paves the way for further investigations into nanobody-based treatments for COVID-19. Published in PNAS, the research [...]
Someday, scientists believe, tiny DNA-based robots and other nanodevices will deliver medicine inside our bodies, detect the presence of deadly pathogens, and help manufacture increasingly smaller electronics. Researchers took a big step toward that [...]
Experts have discovered what they believe is the world’s most mutated COVID strain – and there’s one detail in particular that has scientists worried. Scientists have detected what is believed to be the world’s [...]
SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, likely does not directly infect the brain but can still inflict significant neurological damage, according to a new study from neuropathologists, neurologists, and neuroradiologists at Columbia University Vagelos [...]
ANSTO has contributed to a comprehensive investigation of a promising type of nanoparticle that could potentially be used for intractable brain cancers in a combined therapy. The study, which was led by Dr. Moeava [...]
The immune response needed to protect people against reinfection with the coronavirus will be explored in a new human challenge trial, researchers have revealed. Human challenge trials involve deliberately exposing healthy people to a [...]
Researchers from Duke University are developing a flu shot with the new technology that was used for two coronavirus vaccines. Both the Pfizer-BioNTech and the Moderna shots use part of the virus's genetic code [...]
Researchers from the University of Liverpool have shown the potential of repurposing an existing and cheap drug into a long-acting injectable therapy that could be used to treat Covid-19. In a paper published in the journal Nanoscale, [...]