Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
×
Medicine Biotech

University Seeks Volunteers For 'Hotel Influenza' (fortune.com) 51

The National Institutes of Health is paying a St. Louis university to study the effectiveness of flu vaccines. An anonymous reader quotes Fortune: The university wants volunteers to live in "hotel influenza," where they'd be either given a vaccine or a placebo, be exposed to the flu, and be quarantined for 10 days in the Extended Stay Research Unit. Compensation for such an experiment is around $3,500 (for time and travel), according to a SLU release... "In a traditional flu study, we vaccinate people and see if their immune systems respond by creating antibodies that fight flu," Dr. Hoff said in a release. "In a human challenge study, we vaccinate people, then deliberately challenge their bodies by exposing them to flu to see if they get sick"...

The 24 volunteers living in the "hotel influenza" would have private rooms and bathrooms, common areas with with chairs and TVs, along with exercise equipment, and catered meals in a dining room. They will be observed, "have blood and lung tests and nose swabs to see if they are infected with flu and shedding the virus." If they come down with the flu, they won't be able to leave until they've tested negative for the virus for two days. Nurses would be available around the clock.

One St. Louis newspaper jokes that it will either be a "sickathon" -- or "an indoor vacation complete with catered meals, TV, internet, a gym and views of the Arch".

University Seeks Volunteers For 'Hotel Influenza'

Comments Filter:
  • by taiwanjohn ( 103839 ) on Sunday June 10, 2018 @03:57AM (#56758900)

    I'd be interested to see what role vitamin D3 plays as well. It would be easy to test serum levels of D3 before and after the trial, and see if there's any correlation in the results.

    • by ledow ( 319597 )

      Why?

      There are plenty of existing studies on that, and they are only kind-of useful. There's an effect but it's probably not worth worrying about:

      https://www.nhs.uk/news/food-a... [www.nhs.uk]

      (P.S. Thank the UK taxpayer for that information, won't you, as they have NO INCENTIVE to mislead you as regards trying to sell you something).

  • by Anonymous Coward

    This is awesome! This is how testing should be done -- one humans and not on animals.

    • Human guinea pigs!

      Well, that's more complimentary than saying "human white mice". Who wants to be a mouse?
    • Yes, by all means, let us create a breed of humans that suffer from premature alzheimers so that we can study the disease more effectively.
    • And you pay them hansomly to participate! And then you film it and make it a reality show! And then poor people who's life could be significantly altered by $3500 or how much ever it is are the only ones who sign up! And then all the rest who can afford to live comfortably sit and watch!
      Surely this is a sci-fi work somewhere..
    • by Maritz ( 1829006 )
      Humans are animals, genius. More valuable animals, more important animals. Animals, all the same.
  • So how long after the study has concluded would any flu virus remain viable in the "hotel" (part of the university's Extended Stay Research Unit)? Will the people who are the next "guests" there still be able to contract the flu from the previous experiment?
  • They have awesome food and gigabit www2 internet connectivity. Should be a hoot!
    • You probably won't get sick either. I bet they've matched the vaccine with the particular strains of flu they'll expose you to. Pretty much guaranteed to work.

      The difficult bit about flu vaccines is predicting which strains will be prevalent and then quickly ramping up production and distribution of those. Some years they get it right and some years they get it wrong, with the predictable consequences.

  • Based on the description, this is a waste of money. PAYING people to be confined in such conditions?!? Ordinarily, people PAY to be confined to such conditions; why not just send the researchers on an ocean-going cruise ship? The cost would probably be the same as they're proposing to pay, per person, but instead of paying them, they'd only have to pay the cruise-line for the people they actually send.

    Probably be more fun for everyone involved, and they'd likely get the same results.
    • Actual influenza, not common cold which most people confuse for flu, is deadly. 500k to million people die from it every year, globally.

      Even if it doesn't kill you, the toll on your immune system is enormous.
      You are very likely to end up with secondary infections, pneumonia and various inflammations including but not limited to heart and brain.
      It really does a number on your immune system, and unless you're taking NSAIDs like ibuprofen, you can also expect joint and muscle pain during AND after you're virus

      • Flu comes in different strains, some of which are more harmful than others. There's particularly harmful strains which are usually mutations of strains of avian flu, and then there are rare double-mutations which our immune systems take longer to adapt to and those are usually more deadly than the more common single-mutation strains. In short, a flu can feel like a bad cold (the difference is it comes on much faster, usually from feeling healthy to feeling the full effects within 1 hour) or it can kill you,
        • Nah... If it feels like a bad cold - it's a cold.

          ALL strains of influenza do actual damage to the tissue. Cold doesn't.
          That's why you can get back to work in a week or less after a cold - but you might end up in a hospital or dead when you catch the flu.

          It's actually that most people THINK they have the flu when all they have is a bad cold.

          • Nah... If it feels like a bad cold - it's a cold.

            ALL strains of influenza do actual damage to the tissue. Cold doesn't. That's why you can get back to work in a week or less after a cold - but you might end up in a hospital or dead when you catch the flu.

            It's actually that most people THINK they have the flu when all they have is a bad cold.

            The problem is that if you ring up work and say you're not coming in because you've got a cold, everyone just thinks you're malingering. So you have to ramp it up into something along the lines of 'I've got some sort of viral infection, maybe flu, I'll see how I feel in a few days time'.

            But yes, actual 'flu is at the least a horrible couple of weeks, and at worst fatal.

          • Check out the CDC: "Because colds and flu share many symptoms, it can be difficult (or even impossible) to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone. Special tests that usually must be done within the first few days of illness can tell if a person has the flu." https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/... [cdc.gov]

            So yes, flu is usually more severe than a cold but not always. Again, the easiest way to tell the difference between flu and a severe cold is the time it takes to take on full effect after the first sy

            • You are confusing difficulty of early detection based on symptoms alone with severity and the nature of the disease.

              Protein [sciencedaily.com] which does damage to the tissue is necessary for multiplication of the influenza virus.
              Rhinovirus doesn't do that as it has a completely different structure.

      • There is something to be said to similarities between cruises and torture prisons.
        Psychological pain is still pain...

  • by Paul Johnson ( 33553 ) on Sunday June 10, 2018 @06:46AM (#56759250) Homepage
    > If they come down with the flu, they won't be able to leave until they've tested negative for the virus for two days. So what if they decide to leave? Is this merely a civil breach of contract, or is it an indenture? Will they be bought back in chains by men in hazmat suits?
    • by DRJlaw ( 946416 ) on Sunday June 10, 2018 @08:49AM (#56759508)

      > If they come down with the flu, they won't be able to leave until they've tested negative for the virus for two days. So what if they decide to leave? Is this merely a civil breach of contract, or is it an indenture? Will they be bought back in chains by men in hazmat suits?

      Well, TFA uses the word Quarantine [ncsl.org], so perhaps you should read up on what that means? Even though influenza is naturally occuring and relatively common, it doesn't mean that health authorities are going to want to create and release new sources of infection.

      Depending upon how rigorously they construct their protocol, it's cute that you think that a participant would need to be brought back. Most hospitals have a "secure wing" where they can treat people who don't want to be there -- prisoners and people on psychological holds -- and neither simply handcuff people to their beds nor rely upon a pinky-swear. "Deciding to leave" may be more theory than practice.

  • No thanks. They tell you it's a nice, safe study. Next thing you know your melting from the inside out and dead, the evil group that conducted the experiment has run off to a hidden compound in the Amazon, and a secretive multinational paramilitary organization has to hunt them down.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      the evil group that conducted the experiment has run off to a hidden compound in the Amazon, and a secretive multinational paramilitary organization has to hunt them down.

      I was imagining that you said "compound at Amazon".

    • Do you at least get to ride on the ninja plane before they melt you?

  • You can cash out the 3.500$ check any time you like,
    But you can no leave for ten days (or more)!

    • You can cash out the 3.500$ check any time you like, But you can no leave for ten days (or more)!

      That sounds like something weird and European that wouldn't be worth much in the US. Better make it a $3,500 check.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 10, 2018 @08:27AM (#56759452)

    I mean, this is really no different than my office during the winter. Might as well get paid.

  • Other things they could study is if there is a difference injecting someone with mercury(aka thimerosal) or formaldehyde and how it affects the immune system or overall body. If you look at the list of ingredients in the pdf below most of the influenza vaccines have one or the other or both. https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/p... [cdc.gov]
  • by RDW ( 41497 ) on Sunday June 10, 2018 @10:23AM (#56759804)

    The 24 volunteers living in the "hotel influenza" would have private rooms and bathrooms, common areas with with chairs and TVs, along with exercise equipment, and catered meals in a dining room.

    All very well if you find yourself in the successfully vaccinated group, but you might not have much interest in excercise, meals or even TV if you get full-blown influenza. The last time I had it, all I needed was the bedroom and the bathroom, and shivering deliriously in front of a fan heater with the central heating turned up to max I would happily have paid $3500 to make it go away.

    • Yeah, the ideal subject for this study is a broke college student who thinks that a bad cold they once had was the flu. When you’ve had the real thing, you don’t forget the experience. Been there, done that, no wish to repeat it ever again.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 10, 2018 @10:32AM (#56759846)

    Last time I stayed at an "Extended Stay" Enrichment center I got stuck in suspension for 999999 days, and some fool called Gladys or GladDOS or something ruined everything.

    Would not volunteer for testing again.

  • Welcome to the Hotel Influenza, such a lovely place....
  • by uvajed_ekil ( 914487 ) on Monday June 11, 2018 @01:12AM (#56763190)
    Do this somewhere interesting, like on a beach or something, and explicitly allow booze, and I'm in. Vacations are already a crapshoot, so if you give me something resort-like AND pay me for it, I'll take my chances knowing I might get the flu.
    On second thought, I could use $3500. Count me in, St. Louis and all, but those catered meals had better include some good local barbecue.
  • Just make this a LAN party and they'll get plenty of younger male study subjects: free food and fast internet to play videogames for 10 days.

    That will lead to bad science, though. Too much medical science is already dominated by younger people, males, and white people. Older people, women and especially ethnic minorities are under-represented in medical trials. That leads to treatments and drugs that don't work as well on older people, women and especially ethnic minorities.

    ( eg, https://www.acog.org/Clinic [acog.org]

Research is what I'm doing when I don't know what I'm doing. -- Wernher von Braun

Working...