Questions for “Some young adults will volunteer to get COVID-19 for science”

illustration of coronavirus SARS-CoV-2

In the first approved human-challenge trial for COVID-19, researchers will intentionally expose volunteers to the coronavirus (illustrated) to determine how little of the virus is needed to cause infection.

Radoslav Zilinsky/Moment/Getty Images

To accompany “Some young adults will volunteer to get COVID-19 for science


Before Reading:

1.  What are three symptoms of the new coronavirus infection?

2.  How do scientists know how long it takes after being exposed to the virus before symptoms appear?

During Reading:

1.  Where is the new COVID-19 human challenge taking place? Who approved it and when?

2.  What do scientists hope to learn from this challenge that they didn’t know before?

3.  How have researchers tried to learn about viral effects before?

4.  Seema Shah says of the upcoming trial: “I think a case could be made that the risks are acceptable.” Why does she say that?

5.  What are two criteria to qualify for the human challenge?

6.  How many people will take part and to what variant of virus will they be exposed?

7.  Shah argues that there is some question of how much impact this trial will have. What does she give as her reason for saying that?

After Reading:

1.  Most people who take part in such trials get some money for their time, effort and the risks they accept. If the organizers paid each participant $100 to take part, would you agree to do it? Why or why not? If they raised the amount to $1,000, would that change your mind? Explain why.