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Meet the people who volunteer to get everything from dysentery to dengue fever for vaccine research in Baltimore – Baltimore Sun – Baltimore, Maryland

Baltimore, Maryland 2022-05-24 05:00:00 –

At first, Michelle Rogers thought the Craigslist ad she happened to find was a scam.

It sounded like a science fiction movie. Researchers have offered thousands of dollars to volunteers who are willing to get the flu.

No matter how strange it sounds, the experiment was real. Vaccine researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine were testing how exposure to current influenza strains could cause infection as a way to prepare for future testing of antiviral drugs and vaccines.

“When you or I get the flu, we don’t know exactly when we were exposed, right? We don’t know exactly how much flu got into our nose. There are many variables that we can’t control.” Dr. Kathleen M. Neuzil, Director of the School’s Vaccine Development and Global Health Center, said. “In this way, you can see that X doses of the flu virus have infected someone’s nose every X times. That’s what’s happening.”

Such research Normal fare For centers that frequently provide important vaccine research with the help of a group of paid volunteers. And following a pandemic pause in the coronavirus, the study is back — completed with an eye-catching marketing campaign.

For future research on influenza that requires hospitalization for 12 days, the ad will say “Hotel flu, ”And the words“ vacancy ”are illuminated in bright red.To advertise Studies that require dengue infection, An animated mosquito dances under a mirror ball in a white “Saturday Night Fever” style suit. In a study testing the dysentery vaccine, it was a graphic inspired by the computer game Oregon Trail. It is a covered wagon pulled by a cow. And below: “You died of dysentery.”

For 24-year-old Rogers, who attended medical school from Chantilly, Virginia, flu research was a way to earn some additional cash between jobs ($ 3,410 to be exact). What are the drawbacks? A mix of her beloved Yorkie and Golden Retriever, as well as a nasty case of the flu, in addition to being nearly two weeks away from her family and friends. But even after her headache and congestion, nasal irrigation and blood sampling, Rogers felt she had made the right decision.

“I thought about COVID and how important it is to get people involved in the study,” Rogers said. “Otherwise, it may not have been possible to get the vaccine as soon as it was vaccinated.”

The center managed Early coronavirus vaccine dose for clinical trialsEspecially without infecting anyone.

Dr. Wilbur Chen, Head of the Adult Clinical Research Section at the University of Maryland Center, said: “There was no cure at the time. There was no vaccine at the time. There were many incidents around the world, throughout the United States, and in Maryland at the time, so in my opinion, a challenge study. Could not justify the use of. “

The idea is to test the vaccine in a “challenge study” as is known in places where the disease is relatively rare and ensure that all participants are not vulnerable to severe illness. Influenza studies mean screening participants for respiratory problems. Chen’s study of dysentery meant checking for abdominal problems and performing genetic testing for HLA-B27 to keep participants from becoming susceptible to reactive arthritis after a bacterial infection.

An Oregon Trail ad for Chen’s study caught the eye of 26-year-old Jake Everts on Instagram. However, his final stay in the dysentery ward provided the center with something perhaps more valuable than paid advertising: a viral Twitter thread.

his First tweet As for the study, a few days before he drank the Shigella “smoothie”, he became ill more than ever and was preferred about 4,000 times. Before he left the ward, the nurse told him that 20 people had applied for the next stage of the study and mentioned his thread. -Post a path through the maze (not intended for puns). “

“Within 48 hours from my first thread, it’s already back to the researchers and nurses themselves and asked me about it,” Eberts said. “And they were so calm with it, as if they were afraid to tell me to stop and really like to get angry.”

But all the tweets about dysentery may have been unlucky. Everts suffered from one of the worst cases in a cohort of 16 people, suffering from painful seizures of diarrhea and intense malaise. Perhaps his Twitter feed worked better.

“If I had raised all the tension and ended up in an anti-climax, it would have been a bit cheerful,” I couldn’t understand it. I’m sorry everyone. good bye. “He said.

Approximately 40 hours after Everts drank a bacterium equivalent to a shot glass, stomach pain began in the middle of the night. (Some of the headlines from his tweets called it “poop smoothie”. It wasn’t.)

By that afternoon, he said, getting up for a vital check and traveling to the bathroom, which required a sample of the stool, was a very difficult task. After he walked just 15 feet down the hallway, Everts found himself lying on the bathroom floor and he was completely exhausted.

“I was lying in this bathroom, which I shared with others, and it seemed like I was taking a nap with my cat and trying to rejuvenate for only five minutes. At that point, the nurse said,” OK, Something is wrong here. ” “

When Everts returned to the hospital bed in the communal facility, an IV drip, some additional blankets, and a space heater were carried along with the visit of his doctor. By 6 pm that night, doctors determined that Everts had reached the threshold for severe illness. This meant receiving antibiotics to help his body fight the disease.

By the end of the test, with the help of a new league of Twitter followers, Everts had raised nearly $ 25,000 for The Water Project, a nonprofit organization that builds a reliable water system in sub-Saharan Africa. Some of the Eberts rewards from the survey were also donated to nonprofits.

“When I was in the midst of illness, I was like,’Wow, this is really terrible,'” Everts said. “I would like to use the fame of the virus for 15 minutes to raise money for this.”

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For Rebecca Jimenez, a 32-year-old engineering consultant living in Rockville, getting sick for research wasn’t too disastrous.

Jimenez was planning to work with his partner to study the flu in March, but after they arrived, researchers decided he had a cold and couldn’t participate. So she endured being hospitalized without her roommate at a collection of doctors and nurses, a yoga mat and an almost exclusive company on the Hulu show.

But she was encouraged by the importance of research. As a young Hispanic woman, Jimenez expected her participation to increase the diversity of her research participants.

Jimenez was also able to work away from the hotel flu and held meetings between occasional blood draws and nasal irrigations. But when she was preparing to close her laptop that Friday, it became clear she was ill. During her weekend, she felt pain, had a fever, and was just exhausted. But she didn’t regret her decision.

“This is probably the safest way I’ve ever had the flu,” she said.

However, she had to test negative for the flu before leaving the ward. By the time she was finally allowed to leave the facility that Thursday, she was anxious for fresh air. It, and a delicious meal.

“I’m sure I went to Five Guy,” she said.



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