London-based volunteers are reportedly set to be intentionally infected with COVID-19 as part of a "challenge trial" that could help scientists' understanding of the virus. 

UK government announced that it will be investing £33.6 million in the first stage of the experimental trials, which can provide groundbreaking results despite being highly contentious.

The rollout for the trial involves volunteers being injected with a 'potential' vaccine before being given a dose of COVID-19. The virus will be artificially manufactured by scientists, who will then work out the smallest dose to infect healthy volunteers aged 18-30. 

The trials are being conducted by "the world leader" in challenge trials, which is what specialist pharmaceutical company hVIVO, a subsidiary of Open Orphan plc, call themselves.

The challenge trials themselves would take place next January to March, with Business Secretary Alok Sharma saying: "We are doing everything we can to fight coronavirus, including backing our best and brightest scientists and researchers in their hunt for a safe and effective vaccine."

While "challenge trials" are backed by some as being far quicker than regular vaccine tests, detractors say too little is known about COVID-19 to make challenge trials safe—even for young people—with increasing evidence that a small number of people can be left with long-term illnesses after contracting the virus. 

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