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What is a controlled human infection study?

Controlled human infection study can give an indication that a vaccine is safe and effective far more quickly than would be possible through large-scale population trials.
Controlled human infection study can give an indication that a vaccine is safe and effective far more quickly than would be possible through large-scale population trials.

A ‘controlled human infection study’ (or controlled human challenge trial) is the deliberate infection of human volunteers with a small dose of a pathogen under highly controlled conditions. These studies have contributed uniquely to the understanding, treatment, and prevention of a number of diseases including influenza, cholera, typhoid, and hepatitis.

Controlled human infection trials can help researchers understand more about how the body’s immune system responds to disease and test the effectiveness of a proposed new therapeutic drug or vaccine in a small number of volunteers. 

Human infection studies are widely used to accelerate development and reduce the cost of drugs and vaccines.