Imperial College London, in collaboration with Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Trust, and funded by the Wellcome Trust, are conducting a new human infection study (also known as a human challenge study) with SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

This new study will follow on from the first COVID-19 human infection study carried out by researchers from Imperial, Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust and the clinical company hVIVO last year. Findings from the first study have now been peer-reviewed and published in Nature Medicine and detail the outcomes in 36 healthy, young participants with no immunity to the virus. Read the full news story on the Imperial College news site to learn more.

In this new study, young, healthy volunteers will be deliberately infected with the delta-strain of the COVID-19 virus so that researchers can learn more about the infection and test new vaccines and treatments in the future.

This study aims to recruit up to 120 volunteers who will be given the virus by drops in the nose in a safe and controlled environment. Only volunteers at the lowest risk of becoming severely unwell (young adults between 18-30 years old, who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 and have no underlying health conditions) will be eligible to take part.

The study is taking place in a controlled quarantine unit at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London, so the virus cannot be passed on to people outside the study. There are medical staff on hand all the time closely monitoring the volunteers.

To begin with, researchers at the Imperial Clinical Research Facility will conduct an initial screening assessment to determine eligibility for the study. If eligible, volunteers will then be invited to the quarantine unit at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital. They will be given a dose of coronavirus and then monitored for a minimum of 14 days at the quarantine unit. Once the discharge criteria have been met, they will then leave the quarantine facility and continue in the study up to a year post inoculation and return to the Imperial Clinical Research Facility for five follow up visits.

If you are interested in finding out more, please read the full study information sheet: COVHIC002_PIS_V5.0_17.10.2023

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