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Cash In On Coronavirus: Volunteers Could Be Paid Thousands To Be Infected By The Disease

Volunteers in London could be paid thousands of dollars to be infected with coronavirus under one company's new plan, as scientists scramble to develop a vaccine for the disease.

Twenty-four people selected by Queen Mary BioEnterprises Innovation Centre in London will be paid AUD$6,956 to infected with the virus, according to the Daily Star.

The company plans to inject volunteers with two weak strains of coronavirus (OC43 and 229E) before placing them under quarantine for two weeks.

A sample will later be tested by the company Hvivo.

The volunteers will likely develop similar symptoms of coronavirus while in isolation, where they'll be forced to stick to a restricted diet and not have contact with others or exercise.

The QMB Innovation Centre in Whitechapel. Image: Facebook

As part of the study, doctors will assess volunteers' responses to the vaccine while wearing protective clothing and ventilators.

But the UK's medicine watchdog -- Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency -- will have to approve of the study before it actually takes place.

It comes as countries and laboratories around the world race to develop a vaccine for COVID-19.

The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations says a vaccine could be more than a year away and called on the Australian federal government to help further fund research.

Image: Getty

The government has put $2 million towards a local fund to develop a vaccine and has so far pledged less than $5 million to CEPI.

CEPI chair Jane Halton, a former federal health department head, says about $3 billion is needed so multiple versions of potential vaccines can be developed.

University of Queensland researchers have chosen a vaccine candidate for pre-clinical work while a US team is gearing up for trials, but more are needed.

"Whilst you have something in the lab that looks good, either you can't actually get it to generate the outcome in a human being that you want, or it proves not to be safe or it proves hard to manufacture," Ms Halton told ABC radio.

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"So you need a series of candidates to ensure you end up with one, or preferably more, actual vaccines."

Ms Halton said even if everything went well, a potential vaccine was still 12 months away and would take many months to produce and distribute.

Australia's Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy said the vaccine could be of value if the virus proved to be something that occurred every season, similar to the flu.

10 daily has contacted Queen Mary BioEnterprises for comment.

With AAP