How much money would it take for you to get the flu on purpose? Saint Louis University is looking to pay people $3,500 to partake in a study where they could possibly come down with the flu. Researchers will give participants the flu vaccine or a placebo and see how their bodies react to the virus. It’s all to help better understand the illness.
“In a traditional flu study, we vaccinate people and see if their immune systems respond by creating antibodies that fight flu,” Daniel Hoft, director of Saint Louis University’s Center for Vaccine Development, says. “In a human challenge study, we vaccinate people, then deliberately challenge their bodies by exposing them to flu to see if they get sick.”
Participants will be quarantined for the 10-day-study at the university’s hotel, which they’re calling “Hotel Influenza.” They get to stay in hotel-style rooms with TV, Internet and their own private bathrooms- perfect for anyone who comes down with symptoms of the virus like diarrhea or vomiting. Researchers will monitor the participants through blood and lung tests to safely measure if they’ve been affected by the flu. Hoft notes that this study will make the public “much more confident the vaccine is more likely to be worth the hundreds of millions of dollars of investment to go through phase 3 development.”