Thanks to Michelle Roberts, the BBC’s Health Editor, I’ve discovered that researchers at Southampton University are offering up to £3,526 to each of 35 healthy volunteers between the ages of 18 – 45 who agree to be infected with pertussis (whooping cough) bacteria. The scientists want to make a better vaccine.
Volunteers would have pertussis bacteria inserted into their noses, and would have to live in isolation (in their own rooms, not together) for 17 days. Researchers will be interested in those that do not get sick as they would be naturally immune, and understanding this immunity could lead to the design of a more improved vaccine.
All 35 volunteers would undergo daily throat and nose swabs, and would have to sit in a ‘cough’ box in order to make droplets of saliva in the air for researchers to sample. They would be given antibiotics at the end of the 17 days.
If I was in the right age group (thankfully I’m not), I don’t think ‘up’ to £3,526 would be enough. Put a couple of noughts on the end, and now you’re talking! What do you think?