Working Paper Review Version 1 This version is not peer-reviewed

Controlled COVID-19 Infection in Hospitals Could Achieve A Safer Exit Strategy in the Near-Term: Assessing Risks and Benefits

Version 1 : Received: 11 May 2020 / Approved: 13 May 2020 / Online: 13 May 2020 (05:53:07 CEST)

How to cite: Diamandis, E. Controlled COVID-19 Infection in Hospitals Could Achieve A Safer Exit Strategy in the Near-Term: Assessing Risks and Benefits. Preprints 2020, 2020050225 Diamandis, E. Controlled COVID-19 Infection in Hospitals Could Achieve A Safer Exit Strategy in the Near-Term: Assessing Risks and Benefits. Preprints 2020, 2020050225

Abstract

Draconian defensive measures have been implemented to combat the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak. These important measures constitute a vital current priority but do little to increase communal immunity and avoid future outbreaks. A longer-term exit strategy for a sustainable return to normalcy has yet to be identified. The development of vaccines or effective therapeutics could largely solve the problem, but their timely development cannot be guaranteed. In this setting, and under the expected societal isolation fatigue from extended social distancing, we here propose the idea that at some point after the outbreak’s peak, hospitals, in addition to providing care for infected people who need it, could also be involved in the development of a controlled exit strategy designed to avoid future outbreaks. We postulate that controlled voluntary deliberate infection in a hospital setting and under continuous and close medical observation may offer a safer alternative compared to random en-masse exposure. We discuss potential risks and benefits, highlighting the need for careful consideration of the associated critical ethical issues.

Subject Areas

COVID-19 infection; immunity; risk of COVID-19 infection; pandemics; outbreaks; voluntary infection

Comments (1)

Comment 1
Received: 13 May 2020
The commenter has declared there is no conflict of interests.
Comment: How would you inform volunteers about consequences and long-time-effects that are yet completely unknown? How can you plan to infect people controlled on a larger scale-which you would have to if you want to achieve some sort of herd immunity- with a death rate of still round about 1in1000? You need a few 1000 for making a difference so you kill some of them on the way to your goal. The survival does not depend on the availability of ventilators alone.
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