Coronavirus: Volunteers to be infected in race to find vaccine

UK researchers are calling for volunteers to be deliberately infected with a coronavirus and held in quarantine in a race against time to find a vaccine for the deadly COVID-19, 

Human guinea pigs will be offered £3,500 (NZ$7000) in exchange for two weeks in a secure London facility, where they'll be banned from outside contact and constantly monitored for symptoms, The Times reports. 

The 24 volunteers will be infected with two common strains of coronavirus, 0C43 and 229E, which are similar to COVID-19. However, these two strains only cause a mild respiratory illness.

The infected patients will then be used to test antiviral medications as well as help develop a vaccine for COVID-19.

Medical staff will collect nasal samples, blood and dirty tissues and measure them for the 'viral load'.

They won't be allowed to exercise or have physical contact with other people, and their diet will be controlled. 

However they will be allowed to spend their time watching TV and playing video games.

"Each room is equipped with everything you need to relax, including a flat-screen TV, PlayStation 3, WiFi and en-suite bathroom," Hvivo, the company which owns the laboratory, says on its website.

The experiment is part of a billion-dollar race around the world to find a vaccine for the deadly virus as the death toll continues to climb. A successful vaccine is expected to reap enormous profits for its developer.

The UK's Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency will have to give permission to Hvivo before the testing can begin.

If you wish to take part, please register on the site here.