Researchers prepare lab-grown delta variant of Covid-19 for human trials – .

Researchers prepare lab-grown delta variant of Covid-19 for human trials – .

LONDON – As the rest of the world tries to eradicate the Covid-19 Delta variant, British researchers are making progress by cultivating a carefully controlled batch in a lab they hope to use to infect volunteers in studies.
The effort marks a new phase in human challenge trials in the UK, the only Covid-19 studies in the world intentionally exposing participants to the virus with the aim of developing new vaccines and treatments. Other researchers are also isolating and cultivating specimens of Covid variants for study. Scientists funded by the US government are producing variants for research, but not for use in humans, an official with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said.
Two Covid challenge trials sponsored by Imperial College London and the University of Oxford began earlier this year in the UK. They have so far exposed more than 40 healthy young volunteers under isolated medical supervision to the original Wuhan strain that circulated widely in 2020.
Since then, the highly transmissible Delta variant has come to dominate infections around the world, making vaccines less effective and increasing the number of cases in the UK, US and elsewhere. Delta’s rapid ramp-up led researchers and UK challenge testing partner hVivo Services Ltd. to focus on the growth of the variant in the laboratory.
Along with colleagues in the Netherlands, hVivo brought the Delta strain to mature to the seed stage, said Andrew Catchpole, hVivo’s scientific director and virologist, who oversees the manufacture of the virus. The London Clinical Research Company continues to grow the milliliter per milliliter lot from a sample taken from an infected human.


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