US government scientists have begun efforts to manufacture a strain of SARS-CoV-2 that could be used in human challenge trials of potential vaccines, as reported in Yahoo!News.
The work is preliminary and such trials would not replace Phase III trials such as those now under way in the US testing COVID-19 vaccines candidates from Moderna and Pfizer, according to a statement by the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).
"Should there be a need for human challenge studies to fully assess candidate vaccines or therapeutics for SARS-CoV-2, NIAID has begun investigations of the technical and ethical considerations of conducting human challenge studies," the agency said.
Some drugmakers, including AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson, have indicated that they would consider human challenge trials to test their COVID-19 vaccines, if needed.
Meanwhile, the NIAID said it is continuing to prioritize field trials to evaluate SARS-CoV-2 vaccine candidates, but it opened the possibility to challenge trials for future generations of vaccines or treatments.
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