A Covid human challenge feels like a fitting description of our lives for the last 2+ years. But it’s ALSO what it’s called when scientists give people Covid on purpose to see what happens.
The UK study consisted of deliberate infection with a low dose of Covid equal to the amount of virus in a single drop of snot.
The 34 participants, ages 18-30, earned £4,565 (US$6,200) for their troubles, but they had to spend at least two weeks of quarantine in extreme isolation. Plus, Covid.
Almost half of the participants who were infected did not catch Covid. Some of the infected caught it but didn’t show symptoms, and some developed mild symptoms that included loss of taste or smell. (Loss of those senses isn’t exactly mild, in my opinion, but it’s all relative.)
Bottom line: no one died! It seems like that’s the biggest news to come out of this study. Proof that human-challenge trials can be done with nasty ‘Rona.
Of course, some participants who lost their taste/smell didn’t get their senses back for more than six months. And there are some researchers who think the risks outweigh the rewards for this kind of study.
But others want to know why so many didn’t become infected even when they were directly exposed, and they think more of these trials might help with the answer. That could lead to another weapon in our ongoing Covid battles, but I’m not signing up any time soon.