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When is CVI worthwhile?

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My previous post outlined some reasons to think that Robin Hanson's idea of low-dose controlled voluntary infection (CVI) should be explored further, despite widespread knee-jerk moral discomfort with the idea.  That's not to say that anyone should be attempting to implement this themselves right now.  Rather, careful experimentation (with consenting volunteers who understand the risk) is urgently needed to gather more data and allow us to better judge whether or not CVI would be a worthwhile policy to roll out more broadly.What would make CVI worthwhile?  One central consideration, to begin with, would be a comparison of how much safer low-dose CVI turns out to be compared to uncontrolled infection, to be considered in conjunction with background estimates of how likely one is to suffer uncontrolled infection in the absence of CVI.  As a rough first pass, if we discover an optimal low-dose that results in an infection n times less dangerous than uncontrolled infections (on average), then it looks like anyone with a greater than 1/n chance of eventual accidental infection (within the time-frame in which CVI would grant immunity) would benefit (in the sense of reducing their ex ante health risk) from CVI.Hanson estimated, based on other viruses, that covid's n is likely somewhere between 3 - 30.  A better-informed estimate of this value would make a big difference to when, and for whom, it makes sense to offer CVI.  But even on the lowest end, and even if most people can reasonably expect to avoid infection entirely due to ongoing suppression measures, targeted CVI could still prove beneficial for highly-exposed essential (e.g. health) workers.  Even more clearly, CVI would straightforwardly reduce risk for anyone who would otherwise recklessly seek out uncontrolled infection in order to subsequently qualify for an "Immunity Passport" or the like.(Aside: an epidemiologist in the NY Times sensibly warns. . .

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