Step into the foyer of the Whitechapel Hotel in London and it seems no different from any other business. But venture further in, and it becomes clear that something very strange is going on in this former textile factory.
Biohazard signs on each floor warn observers not to enter. Next to the double beds in the bright and modern en-suite rooms are white trolleys containing swabs, vials, gloves and other medical paraphernalia. Peepholes on the doors are not there so that guests can look out into the corridor.
Instead, they are reversed for safety reasons.
This former hotel, a victim of the Covid pandemic, has been transformed into a 19-bed quarantine facility used to house volunteers taking part in human challenge studies – specialist clinical trials where people are infected with a virus or bacteria to see how they respond to experimental vaccines or treatments.
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