As the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) begins testing Ebola vaccine on humans, one of the trial recipients documented his experience on Reddit yesterday (17 September).
Going by the name of "Animostic_shep", the recipient composed a discussion forum titled, 'IamA Human Guinea Pig Getting the Newest Ebola Vaccine AMA!' and posted:
"I am the 13th human to receive this particular vaccine of the first 20-person cohort and the 3rd to receive the highest dose."
Animostic_shep took to his Reddit forum to answer questions on his trial vaccine experience.
Here are some of the highlights:
Q. Ok I'm going to be the guy that asks here, but they don't give you Ebola right?
A. No. Its a viral DNA vector. It causes some of my cells to express ebola proteins to illicit an immune response. The DNA can't replicate and will be gone within a couple weeks. I was told about a thousand times that I cannot get Ebola from it and it was even on a true/false quiz testing my understanding about the study this morning.
Q. Do you need to stay in shape, eat healthy and all that jazz to keep participating on these trials?
A. I'm supposed to maintain my lifestyle. I've been asked to not start any new diets or workouts. I'm not obligated to do so, but if I do it could cause fluctuations in my bloodwork which will cause problems for the researchers and probably result in me getting stuck with more needles.
Q. You don't have to answer if it is too invasive, but how much money are we talking about here?
A. $100 for each of 2 pre-trial evaluations. $275 for today. $25 for keeping a 7 day diary. Then $175 each time I come back for blood draws.
Q. That's not a lot of money to suffer from serious complications if the vaccine has flaws.
A. If anything goes wrong and is related to the study, I'll get free treatment at the NIH Clinical Center. It's full of most of the best doctors in the world, so I'm not worried. I also never signed anything that says I can't sue them if something does go wrong. There's actually a line in my consent form that says I can.
Q. How do they test to see if the vaccine is effective? (Assuming they don't send y'all to Liberia or anything; if they do, I hope they pay well.)
A. They draw blood and check for antibodies.
Q. Are you in isolation, or otherwise hospitalized, during the study?
A. I'm hanging out in the "post vaccination room" and can't leave for 3 hours, but I'm not quarantined.
Animostic_shep said on the forum that he opted for the trials to pay for his graduate school applications.
He is headed for a career in biomedical research, and, "the guinea pig experience is enlightening."