University Health Network — Hepatitis C Challenge Model

University Health Network
Award Date:
To support the development and testing of a controlled human infection model for hepatitis C.

Open Philanthropy recommended a grant of $1,460,000 over three years to the University Health Network to support the development and testing of a CHIM (controlled human infection model), which could be used to evaluate vaccines for hepatitis C (HCV), led by Jordan Feld. CHIM studies involve exposing volunteers to a controlled dose of a pathogen. They require fewer participants and are easier to carry out than real-world efficacy trials, which require following a large number of people until enough of them naturally contract the virus to enable a comparison between the treatment and control groups. And because there are several direct-acting antiviral medications for HCV, it is possible to reliably cure infected volunteers afterwards, making CHIM studies relatively safe. (For more on the ethics of these studies, see this issue of the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases.)

This falls within Open Philanthropy’s focus area of scientific research, specifically within its interest in advancing human health and wellbeing.

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