In a press release published by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, ministers said that the study, which has received 33.6 million pounds ($46.6 million) in government investment, would be the first of its kind.
“These human challenge studies will take place here in the UK and will help accelerate scientists’ knowledge of how coronavirus affects people and could eventually further the rapid development of vaccines,” Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said in the press release.
The study is currently recruiting up to 90 healthy adults aged 18 to 30 to take part in the trial, the government said. Volunteers will be monitored around the clock after they are given the lowest possible dose of SARS-CoV-2 to induce COVID-19, according to the press release.
So-called human challenge studies have been used to develop treatments for diseases such as malaria and typhoid, and can help pharmaceutical companies establish which vaccine is likely to succeed in phase 3 clinical trials, the government said.
Experts from the National Health Service, academia, and the private sector are cooperating with the government to conduct the human challenge study.