Brazil’s Volunteers
More than a quarter of the volunteers are in Brazil, where the coronavirus is spreading fast. 1DaySooner has contacted vaccine developers planning final-stage studies there to suggest they consider people on its list for conventional studies, too, according to Morrison.

Volunteers’ personal motivations vary, but many cite a sense of common good. Jason Crowell, a 42-year-old lawyer in London, even persuaded his reluctant wife to join him after watching the coronavirus claim the lives of more than 40,000 people in Britain, including one of his friends.

‘Feel Useful’
Gloria Lee, a violinist, found out about the opportunity to join the challenge trial movement after the pandemic forced organizers to cancel a recital set for early May at New York University, her debut solo in the city, along with other performances.

“I started to think about what I could do to feel useful and to hopefully be part of the effort to put this virus to rest,” said Lee, who is 30. “It’s the most important thing I could do at this moment.”

Besides accelerating vaccine development, human-challenge studies could ultimately help make shots more effective, according to the World Health Organization, which has outlined the criteria that would need to be met to carry out the tests. Proponents note that the approach was used safely for diseases such as malaria, typhoid, cholera as well as the flu.

Society asks volunteer firefighters to rush into burning buildings and relatives to donate organs to loved ones, scientists Nir Eyal, Marc Lipsitch and Peter Smith wrote in March. They said studies could focus on people between 20 and 45 years old, an age range in which the chances of serious complications or death are far lower.

But the studies could take at least several months to start, and the NIH said there should be enough natural transmission of the virus in the U.S. to carry out tests this summer. The agency also cited “serious ethical considerations.”

Rushing trials without fully considering the impact they could have in getting vaccines to the public more quickly would be a mistake, but “it is worth laying the groundwork now,” Seema Shah, an ethics specialist at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, wrote with others in the New York Times earlier this month.

“We have to know that volunteers were not exposed to risk in vain,” they wrote. “Public trust in vaccines and research depend on it.”

This article was provided by Bloomberg News.

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