30 April 2020 Posted By : Tom Blackwell

'Crazy idea' of infecting volunteers with COVID-19 to boost herd immunity, test vaccines gathers support

Dr. Eleftherios Diamandis admits it might look like a “crazy idea” to some.

In a paper posted on his cancer research lab’s website, the University of Toronto professor proposes setting up special hospitals where volunteers could be deliberately infected with low doses of the COVID-19 virus, helping build a protective herd immunity in the year or more before a vaccine becomes available.

One colleague equated his suggestion to the Nazis’ medical experiments on concentration-camp prisoners.

But different versions of the provocative idea have slowly picked up support as the world looks for ways to escape economically devastating lockdowns, while keeping people safe from the novel coronavirus.

Quebec Premier Francois Legault cited the concept of herd immunity Thursday, saying science indicates it would be a mistake to keep the province in lockdown for months to come. “If everyone stays home, nobody will get immunized,” he said.

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