International volunteers are currently excluded from UK COVID-19 human challenge trials, in which volunteers are deliberately exposed to SARS-CoV-2 to advance medical research.
LUSAKA, ZAMBIA: 1Day Africa— the African chapter of 1Day Sooner, a vaccine non-profit advocating for research volunteers— is calling for African volunteers to be eligible for ongoing and they upcoming COVID-19 human challenge trials in the United Kingdom. In these trials, volunteers are being deliberately exposed to SARS-CoV-2 to learn more about the disease and potentially test vaccines and treatments. Hundreds of Africans have expressed interest in volunteering for challenge trials, but studies so far are only accepting British volunteers.
Zacharia Kafuko, 1Day Africa’s Manager, argued for the participation of international volunteers in these important research trials in the Journal of Medical Ethics blog, a prominent UK ethics journal. In the piece, he argued that “The UK has outstanding capacity and initiative to conduct COVID-19 human challenge trials, and these trials should not be held back by a lack of volunteers when thousands around the world— myself included— are willing to participate.”
The UK has historically led the way with human challenge trials and need to continue to do so. The scientific benefits of including a wider sample space of participants outweighs the logistical complexity it brings. This is why African participants should be allowed to participate in future UK challenge trials”- Devon (South Africa)