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Survey of 6 countries shows support for vaccine challenge trials

December 14 2020

CPLB members Nir Eyal, Mark Budolfson and Monica Magalhaes, and CPLB associate Alex Guerrero, coauthored a study published in Vaccine finding broad support for accelerated designs for COVID-19 vaccine. Created with coauthors David Broockman and Nicholas Jewell at Berkeley and Josh Kalla and Jasjeet Sekhon at Yale, the study explained the differences between accelerated trials (challenge trials, and trials that integrate phase II and phase III) and standard trials, and tested respondents’ understanding before asking about respondents’ views on the ethics of these trials and their likelihood of taking a vaccine tested by each type of trial.

Respondents in the US, Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, New Zealand, South Africa, Singapore and the United Kingdom considered both forms of accelerated trial to be as ethical as standard trials, even on the assumption that risks to participants would be somewhat elevated in them. This high support held for several tested demographic subgroups, including vulnerable populations such as the elderly and essential workers.