Schaefer, G.O and Tam, Clarence C. and Savulescu, Julian and Voo, Teck Chuan, COVID-19 Vaccine Development: Time to Consider SARS-CoV-2 Challenge Studies? (March 20, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3568981 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3568981
While a human challenge study holds the prospect of accelerating the development of a vaccine for the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, it may be opposed due to risks of harm to participants and researchers. Given the increasing number of human deaths and severe disruption to lives worldwide, we argue that a SARS-CoV-2 challenge study is ethically justifiable as its social value substantially outweighs the risks. Such a study should therefore be seriously considered as part of the global research response towards the COVID-19 pandemic. This paper contributes to the debate by addressing the misperception that a challenge study would lower scientific and ethical standards for vaccine research as well as other ethical concerns. Information that need to be disclosed to prospective participants to obtain their consent are set out.
Read the full paper here