[ Question ]

How dangerous is it to test a vaccine without animal trials?

by Yoav Ravid1 min read14th Mar 20204 comments

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Coronavirus
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I saw the idea a few times (including on LW), and support it, to do/allow human trials for CoronaVirus vaccine without animal trials.

My question is - how dangerous is it for a person to volunteer to test a vaccine (both with and without animal trials)?

How dangerous is it compared to getting the virus itself?

How should someone decide whether to volunteer?

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US volunteers to test first vaccine according to this article BBC


Dr John Tregoning, an expert in infectious diseases at Imperial College London, UK, said: "This vaccine uses pre-existing technology.
"It's been made to a very high standard, using things that we know are safe to use in people and those taking part in the trial will be very closely monitored.
"Yes, this is very fast - but it is a race against the virus, not against each other as scientists, and it's being done for the benefit of humanity."

There is a non zero risk of death. There have been cases where some candidates had severe permanent damage and it took a while to figure out why. We are all slightly different.

Even with animal trials there is a risk. I do not think there is an answer to your question.

1Yoav Ravid8moI think an answer is mainly how "fat" the tail is, which you addressed. i am wondering though, how much of the risks to animals in animal trials apply to humans. not because of difference in biology, but whether we can know how much we don't know about a vaccine before we give it, and only give the least uncertain to humans (cause i assume we're being less careful on animals). i guess we can't know much and my prior on testing vaccines was "dangerous on average, with really fat tail"
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I heard there was a trial on monkey for a SARS vaccine that instead of making them immune only made the disease worse when they got it.