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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Mar 16, 2020


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."


Mar 20, 2020


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.

I 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"

Jun 25, 2022


The risk very likely depends on exactly what the vaccine is.  A universal policy is likely not warranted.  Moderna was designed in 2 days.  Note what the vaccine is.  vaccine = (carrier RNA + selected viral genes).  The carrier RNA has already been tested and shown to be safe in humans.  The selected viral genes are going to be expressed in your body if you get the virus, without your consent anyways, so getting the vaccine by definition is safer than getting infected.  

We lost hundreds of thousands of lives because the FDA choose to apply a one size fits all policy - protecting their own reputation and the careers of a few people - instead of realizing this and making the correct decision.

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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.