WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- Researchers at St. Louis University will pay $3,500 to anyone who will voluntarily get the flu.
- Add to that, you’ll also earn an all-expense-paid vacation in a hotel for 10 to 12 days.
- The university’s Center for Vaccine Development got financial assistance to conduct an experiment in which they will infect participants with the flu.
After a deadly flu season, researchers at St. Louis University will launch an experiment called the “human challenge study.” The research aims to test the effectiveness of the flu vaccine.
The team of researchers will vaccinate the subjects with either a flu vaccine or a placebo and then they will infect them with the flu virus using a nasal spray. Previous studies simply get people vaccinated and then test whether their body forms antibodies.
But, with a challenge study, “You have to be careful about not harming them too much,” said an associate professor of health care ethics at the university.
The study used the word “challenge” because the researchers will challenge the subjects’ bodies with the flu virus—to find out the effectiveness of the vaccine and if it offers faster results, The challenge study also tend to cost much less. Additionally, it can help develop a universal vaccine that works for most strains, Newsweek reported.
As of now, researchers predict which strains will be the most popular during a particular season. And that’s where they based what kind of flu vaccines to prepare. However, a universal vaccine could keep people protected from different strains of the flu.
Moreover, researchers have access to more information as the challenge study goes along. They will have accurate information when the participants are vaccinated and when they were infected. According to Dr. Daniel Hoft, director of the Center for Vaccine Development, it allows for better tracking and consistency in the study.
The subjects will be “studied” in an Extended Stay where there’s a research unit for their monitoring, Newsweek wrote. The university added that the participants will be quarantined in “hotel-style rooms.”
The participants will have access to “private bathrooms, exercise equipment, television and internet.” They will also have a common space and meals will be catered.
Hoft said in a statement release that the experimental study will be conducted in the next six months. The program would need an industry sponsor and would possibly be smaller than a full-scale test using all of the space available in the Extended Stay Research Unit has to offer, according to Newsweek.