Boyds is working in collaboration with Wellcome on a COVID-19 human infection study which aims to investigate the immunity provided by previous COVID-19 infections to increase our knowledge and understanding of the disease and how we can treat and prevent it.
Human infection studies are also known as human challenge trials and involve the deliberate infection of volunteers with a pathogen in a safe and controlled environment to learn more about a disease or to test potential treatments and vaccines.
With COVID-19 still a relatively new virus, there is a lot to learn from its behaviour and there is a strong belief amongst academics and industry that human infection studies will have huge potential in helping the fight against COVID-19. These studies will enrich our understanding of the virus and help to expedite the development of new vaccines and treatments.
Wellcome is a longstanding champion of human infection studies and is working in collaboration with teams at Oxford, hVIVO and Boyds on a new COVID-19 human infection study.
Dr Karen O’Hanlon, Vice President of Clinical Operations at Boyds, says: “We are delighted to be involved in this important project. There has been a huge response to the pandemic with the fast development of vaccines and treatments, however the pandemic is far from over and studies like these play a key role in helping us to gain an increased understanding of the virus and its new variants which will be vital in developing the next generation of vaccines and treatments.”
Understanding the regulatory barriers
Boyds is supporting this project by undertaking discussions with regulators and researchers working on COVID-19 human infection studies at Imperial and Oxford to understand the barriers to setting up human infection studies and how evidence and data from these studies can be used effectively to inform and support vaccine development.
Dr O’Hanlon adds: “This study has been funded by Wellcome and is an important step in the response to the virus. The results of this study will support and inform the development of new and improved vaccines and treatments, which in turn will save more lives and help us to end this pandemic.”