UK will deliberately infect vaccine volunteers: report

Britain plans to host clinical trials where volunteers will be deliberately infected with the new coronavirus.

The aim is to test whether potential vaccines are effective.

That's according to a report in the UK's Financial Times Wednesday (September 24).

It said the so-called "challenge trials" are expected to start in January at a quarantine facility in London and will be government funded.

And it's reportedly had no trouble attracting participants, with 2,000 people said to have signed up to the trial through 1Day Sooner,

They are a U.S.-based advocacy group which lobbies for challenge trials to speed up vaccine development.

Britain confirmed it was working with partners on potentially hosting trials, but did not comment on any specific plan.

One pharma company - Open Orphan - confirmed Thursday (September 24) that it is in "advanced negotiations" with the UK government for a challenge study.

There are still hurdles to overcome before any trial can happen, as regulators would need to give their approval.

Britain's healthcare regulator did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

The FT report did not name the vaccines that would be used in the project.

Two of the world's leading drugmakers - AstraZeneca and Sanofi - said their vaccine candidates were not involved in the program.