Medical researchers and medical legality scholars have joined forces on a new paper debunking homemade kinds of COVID-19 vaccine research. In a regular section in the journal Science reserved for discussing medical policy, these researchers underline the medical and legal risks of different home remedy concoctions.

Yes, the idea of people inoculating themselves sounds absurd. And thankfully, there’s no reason to automatically think people trying these recipes are very widespread. But part of the point of the paper is to remind people that conducting medical experiments and even ordering certain components from other states can get someone into legal hot water very quickly.

“Just because it’s self-experimentation doesn’t give you carte blanche,” University of Illinois law professor Jacob Sherkow said in a statement. Regulations on everything associated with developing new medications, from the ingredients like chemical reagents all the way to how you handle or distribute any “finished” product, are extremely strict.

That’s on top of strict regulations on approved drugs, like a recent Amazon recall of drugs that were sold in individual packets—normal in office settings where just adults work and don’t require child-safe packaging, but not approved for use in home settings that could include children.

That means someone, for example, concocting a homemade recipe—already sketchy unless they’re a vaccine scientist!—may publish their recipe online without repercussions. And someone trying to buy the ingredients, mix them using chemical processes, and administer them (especially if to others) is liable for a huge number of serious violations of ethics as well as U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) policy.

This paper was likely prompted by a recent New York Times report on people who are developing and giving themselves experimental vaccines. They’re also sharing their conclusions in Facebook groups, for example, some with pat insistence that they consider themselves “immune” to COVID-19 now.

Popular Mechanics


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