Speed Reads

Solving COVID

A new Oxford study will deliberately reinfect recovered COVID-19 patients

Researchers at the University of Oxford are looking for 64 healthy people between the ages of 18 and 30 who have recovered from COVID-19. In a new, first-of-its kind study, the volunteers will be reinfected with the original strain of the coronavirus first identified in Wuhan, China, under controlled, quarantined conditions for 17 days, the university said Monday.

The main goal of the challenge trial is to discover what levels and types of immunity are needed to prevent reinfection, which could aid vaccine developers going forward. So far, natural infections and vaccines appear to provide strong protection against reinfection for the most part, but it's unclear how long that will last. The study may also reveal how much virus it takes to reinfect a recovered patient.

While Oxford is excited about the study's potential, challenge trials have their critics, who argue that deliberately infecting someone is unethical, regardless of the circumstances. Read more at Bloomberg.