Author Salley Vickers urges fit-and-healthy volunteers to be deliberately infected with coronavirus so they can ‘join those valiantly fighting for help’ after they recover
- Salley Vickers, 72, suggests she’s willing to be infected with Covid-19
- The author claims fit and healthy volunteers should be exposed to the virus
- Recovered volunteers could offer themselves up to research, she says
Ficition writer Salley Vickers has suggested fit and healthy volunteers should be infected with coronavirus so they can aid research into the fatal disease.
The University of Cambridge graduate, 72, even hinted she would volunteer herself. despite people over 70 being at a much higher risk of developing serious health complications due to Covid-19.
In a letter to The Guardian, the author writes: ‘[Dominic Cummings] might consider a controlled policy of volunteers, such as myself, to be exposed to the virus under strict conditions.’
Author Salley Vickers said being deliberately infected with the coronavirus to aid research ‘would be more worthwhile to myself and others than just dallying at home,’ in a letter to The Guardian on Thursday
While not identical, the Liverpudlian’s suggestion has echoes of the Government’s original herd immunity solution to the coronavirus, which believed allowing the infection to spread would end with most of the country becoming immune to the fatal disease.
In her letter Mrs Vickers says the volunteers infected would be ‘in a unique position to offer up ourselves for research, to provide antibodies, to ameliorate the disease and, finally, join those valiantly fighting to help’.
The former NHS psychotherapist adds: ‘I feel my services would currently be more worthwhile both to myself and others in that capacity than just dallying at home not getting on with writing my next novel.’
Staff at Formula One side Red Bull dismissed outright a proposal from its driver development chief Helmut Marko to set up a ‘coronavirus camp’ and infect its drivers while the season is off.
Medical staff testing people at the coronavirus test centre at Chessington World of Adventure on Thursday. There have been suggestions to deliberately infect people in the hope of aiding research
Speaking on Australian TV the former racing driver, 76, said: ‘They are all strong young men in really good health.
‘That way they would be prepared whenever the action starts – ready for what will probably be a very tough championship.’
According to medical experts it is unlikely that a person who has recovered from coronavirus will contract the disease a second time.
Despite that, Dr Marko admitted his controversial plan was dismissed out of hand by Red Bull staff. ‘Let’s put it this way, it’s not been well-received,’ he said
Herd immunity is a situation in which a population of people is protected from a disease because so many of them are unaffected by it that it cannot spread.
To cause an outbreak a disease-causing bacteria or virus must have a continuous supply of potential victims who are not immune to it.
Immunity is when your body knows exactly how to fight off a certain type of infection because it has encountered it before, either by having the illness in the past or through a vaccine.
When a virus or bacteria enters the body the immune system creates substances called antibodies, which are designed to destroy one specific type of bug.
When these have been created once, some of them remain in the body and the body also remembers how to make them again. This provides long-term protection, or immunity, against an illness.
If nobody is immune to an illness – as was the case at the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak – it can spread like wildfire.
However, if, for example, half of people have developed immunity – from a past infection or a vaccine – there are only half as many people the illness can spread to.
As more and more people become immune the bug finds it harder and harder to spread until its pool of victims becomes so small it can no longer spread at all.
The threshold for herd immunity is different for various illnesses, depending on how contagious they are – for measles, around 95 per cent of people must be vaccinated to it spreading.
For polio, which is less contagious, the threshold is about 80-85 per cent, according to the Oxford Vaccine Group.
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