Irish company to develop world’s first human challenge trial for Covid-19

Initial study by Open Orphan due to begin in January in London

Cathal Friel, executive chairman of Open Orphan

Cathal Friel, executive chairman of Open Orphan

An Irish company is to develop the world’s first human challenge trial for Covid-19, which will see healthy volunteers exposed to the virus as a first step to testing the effectiveness of potential vaccines.

The initial study, which is being funded by the British government in a deal worth up to €11.1 million, will begin in January in London, pending regulatory and ethical approval. It is being run by Dublin-based Open Orphan and its UK subsidiary, hVIVO, which has a history of running human challenge trials for viruses like influenza, malaria and the common cold.

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