Every year, kids and adults are diagnosed with the dreaded flu. The symptoms are all too familiar- achy body, chills, fever, a pounding headache, and just all-around misery. People are encouraged to get the flu vaccine every year because it's a highly contagious and potentially dangerous virus.
If you laugh in the face of the flu- and you have 10 days to spare so you can lay on the couch convinced you're on the verge of death- researchers at the National Institute of Health (NIH) are looking for volunteers to "deliberately" get infected with the virus "under controlled conditions". Why would anyone do this to themselves? Well, how does a payday of up to $3300 sound?
According to the NIH, the researchers are looking for up to 80 healthy adults (aged 18 to 50) to infect themselves with the flu via a nasal spray containing the Influenza A virus. They'll then be under observation for ten days until they're no longer contagious. There are follow up appointments involved as well, so each volunteer may have to invest up to four months into the trial.
The purpose of this study is to help create a more effective flu vaccine in the future. Researchers are going to look at how the virus affects patients, including symptom intensity and how long it takes for each volunteer to fight off the virus. Participants will have nasal and/or throat swabs before, during, and after the virus is administered to help researchers gauge these factors.
If you're interested in participating (which means that you're willing to undergo all the misery that comes with having the flu), you can sign up for the study in Durham, North Carolina; Cincinnati, Ohio; Baltimore, Maryland; or St. Louis, Missouri. If none of these sites are close by and you have some PTO to spare at work, it may be worth the trip to participate. (Paid time off and an extra $3,300? Hello, Christmas fund!)
For anyone who is intrigued (but not enough to have a live virus literally put into their body), the results of the study will be available in May of 2020.