100 young San Diegans among thousands willing to be exposed to coronavirus to help with vaccine trials

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One of the first South African Oxford vaccine trialists is injected with the clinical trial for a potential coronavirus vaccine in Soweto, South Africa, on June 24 ,2020. (SIPHIWE SIBEKO/ POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

One of the first South African Oxford vaccine trialists is injected with the clinical trial for a potential coronavirus vaccine in Soweto, South Africa, on June 24 ,2020. (SIPHIWE SIBEKO/ POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

She doesn’t think of herself as a risk-taker. But April Simpkins of San Diego says she’s willing to help test a COVID-19 vaccine by allowing herself to be directly exposed to the novel coronavirus, which has killed more than 130,000 people nationally since February.

“I’m young and healthy and don’t see that much danger,” said Simpkins, 29. “The coronavirus has really been surging lately and a trial like this could help develop a vaccine sooner.”

Simpkins is one of 30,000 people globally — and about 100 in San Diego — who have volunteered to participate in a controversial type of medical study known as a human challenge trial, or HCT, if such a trial gains federal approval.

The volunteers were recruited by 1 Day Sooner, a newly formed New York advocacy group that is promoting HCTs as a faster way of developing a vaccine. The group is looking mostly for younger people, whose COVID-19 mortality rate is lower than those who are older.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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