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BSI statement in response to new human challenge study on COVID-19

2 February 2022

A newly published pre-print on Research Square reports on a human challenge study, carried out by researchers at Imperial College London, to examine the timeline of SARS-CoV-2 infection and to establish a safe and effective protocol to carry out this type of research. In response, the British Society for Immunology has issued the following statement. 

Dr Doug Brown, Chief Executive of the British Society for Immunology, said:
“It is exciting to see the results of this study published. This important pre-print provides significant in-depth insights into how SARS-CoV-2 infects the human body and how that infection progresses. This type of study, called a Human Challenge Trial, is where volunteers are exposed to the virus and the course of their infection then monitored in detail. These studies are not easy to carry out and require a lot of resources. However, they provide us with hugely valuable insights into minutiae of disease progression that cannot be obtained through other types of research.  
“This is the first step in developing human challenge studies on COVID-19. While the main aim of this study was to establish a safe and successful protocol to build on in the future, the significance of it should not be underestimated. This study has already generated intriguing insights into the timeline of infection, particularly in the early phase. In the longer-term, the hope is that these findings will now open up a new research avenue to develop a platform that will allow us to speed up the development of new vaccines, antivirals and diagnostics against COVID-19. The UK is a world leader in this type of research that, with the right ongoing investment, will play a significant role in helping us live alongside this virus.” 

This statement is in response to the publication of the following preprint: Chui et al. Safety, tolerability and viral kinetics during SARS-CoV-2 human challenge. Research Square doi: 10.21203/