Sign up to Stay Updated on Hepatitis C Challenge Studies
Volunteers will be needed for upcoming medical studies to help researchers develop future vaccines for hepatitis C. Read this page to learn about the basics of these studies and sign up for more information.
Hepatitis C is a disease that slowly damages the liver. After decades, it can cause liver cancer or even liver failure, leading to death. The good news: it’s fully treatable. The bad news: treatment is not easily available for the world’s poorest, and there’s no vaccine — even though it kills hundreds of thousands of people every year.
It’s likely that next year, a study involving controlled infection with hepatitis C for up to a few months will begin. Volunteers would be fully treated for free at the end of the study (or earlier, if they wish). Like all medical studies, regulatory and ethics board approval will be required before anyone is enrolled.
That may sound strange — but similar studies, called “human challenge studies,” have been done for other diseases, too. With careful oversight and regulation, many experts in hepatitis C, research ethics, and related areas believe that human challenge studies can be done safely for hepatitis C, too. 121 people, including two scientists who won the Nobel Prize for discovering hepatitis C, published a letter in support of hep C human challenge studies in September 2023.
All volunteers will be compensated. Specific payment is still being decided, but may be at least a few thousand Canadian dollars for those who complete the study.
1Day Sooner is a nonprofit group and we do not run medical studies ourselves. We’re an organization that advocates for healthy volunteers in medical research, and many of us have been in vaccine studies. We want to help organize people enthusiastic about helping accelerate vaccine development and be a source of support.
If you’d like to consider volunteering some day, fill in the form below and we’ll reach out. Scroll down a bit further to see more information about this research and hepatitis C.
Who would volunteer to be infected with a disease?
Hundreds of studies involving dozens of diseases have involved deliberate infection of healthy, consenting adults — 15,000 people between 1980 and 2021, according to one study (and there were zero deaths)! Here are others who have volunteered in this kind of medical study, called a challenge study, for other diseases:
Norovirus GII.4/CIN-3 characterization challenge, 2022
“I took the plunge and got infected with norovirus to help better understand the disease. To me, it was a relatively simple request: my health, temporarily, in return for scientific advancement.”
Shigella flexneri 2a vaccine challenge, 2022
“Nobody wants to get sick (especially with infectious diseases like dysentery!) but I’m hopeful that by people like me volunteering for human challenge studies, medical advances can be made to help protect those most vulnerable.”
SARS-CoV-1 (Wuhan strain) reinfection challenge study, 2021 (Paresh was the study’s first participant!)
“The deep nasal swabs and my initial fear of needles were awful!! But was a small sacrifice to hopefully enable us to combat Covid-19 better.”
We put together an FAQ document about upcoming hepatitis C studies here. Here are the highlights:
- Hepatitis C is fully treatable, and treatment will be provided for free to all participants in the study.
- There’s no evidence short-term infection with hepatitis C causes serious long-term health consequences.
- Most people with hepatitis C usually don’t show symptoms. If they do occur, symptoms can include nausea, fatigue, headache, and jaundice (a painless yellow tinge to the skin).
- Hepatitis C challenge studies will take place over several months and include regular visits and blood draws, along with other procedures, to monitor your health.
- The studies would not involve overnight stays in any hospital or clinic.