Those taking part in COVID-19 vaccine trial could be exposed to virus in January

The UK government is reportedly backing a human challenge study in the race to find an effective COVID-19 vaccine.

The study would see a number of participants in the vaccine's human trials who have received the dose be exposed to the virus to test the vaccine's efficacy.

The purpose of this study is to speed up the process of the vaccine trial in the hopes of making it available to the public at a sooner date.

In these trials, a number of people aged between 18 and 30 of good health will be given the vaccine which has been assessed in earlier clinical trials.

This group of people will then be exposed to the virus in a controlled environment, and will then be carefully monitored to see if the vaccine works and if there are any possible side effects.

There are hopes that these trials will commence in January with results from this expected by May 2021, following approval from regulatory bodies and ethics committees.

Human trials COVID-19

The vaccine studies are in partnership with Imperial College London, hVIVO, and the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust.

The UK government has reportedly invested 33.6 million in these studies, which will be carried out under strictly controlled conditions at the Royal Free Hospital in London.

Reports have said that the subjects of this study will then be tracked for a year.

Lead Researcher on the human challenge study at Imperial College London, Dr. Chris Chiu, said; "Our number one priority is the safety of the volunteers.

"No study is completely risk-free, but the Human Challenge Programme partners will be working hard to ensure we make the risks as low as we possibly can.

"The UK's experience and expertise in human challenge trials, as well as in wider COVID-19 science, will help us tackle the pandemic, benefitting people in the UK and worldwide."