Yasemin Saplakoglu

If there’s a single clear note rising from the cacophony of coronavirus news, it’s that the pandemic will not end without a vaccine. Though dozens of vaccine candidates are in the works, some hopping through clinical trial phases at an unprecedented speed, infectious disease experts are saying that it will take at least 12 to 18 months until  a coronavirus vaccine could be ready for use in the general public — and that’s in the best-case scenarios.

But experts are now proposing a slightly outlandish, ethically questionable idea: a so-called “human challenge study” that would deliberately expose volunteers to the coronavirus to quickly understand whether or not candidate vaccines work and if they are safe. More than 20,000 people around the world have already expressed interest in participating in such a challenge, if it were ever to be brought to light.

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