06/22/2017 / By Cassie B.
We all put a price on our health, whether it’s our willingness to shell out a few extra dollars for organic fruit at the store or deciding that yoga classes are a good investment. However, have you ever thought about the opposite side of the coin? Would you accept a sizable sum of money to put your health at risk? That’s exactly what some Southampton University researchers are counting on.
In an effort to make an improved vaccine to “protect” vulnerable parties against whooping cough, the researchers are looking to pay people as much as £3,526 ($4499.33 at today’s exchange rate) to be infected with the disease and then live in isolation units for 17 days. This means that not only do volunteers get sick on purpose, but they also get to help create dangerous vaccines that parents will be strong-armed into giving their children for years to come. There’s not enough money in the world to convince some of us to take part in such a scheme, but they probably won’t have too much trouble getting enough people to sign up given the financial incentive.
The team of researchers plans to infect healthy people with whooping cough by sticking nasal drops infected with the pertussis bacteria up their noses and then keep track of how well they fare. Whooping cough is marked by cold-like symptoms and a persistent cough that can last for months.
Volunteers must be healthy individuals aged between 18 and 45. While some people will get sick, others won’t develop any symptoms at all after exposure as some people have a natural immunity to the infection. These silent carriers can still spread it to others, however. Such individuals are believed to have enough immunity to naturally fight the disease despite never having been vaccinated against it, and these are the people the scientists are most interested in studying.
Participants will have a private room with a bathroom and recreational area. Their meals and entertainment will be provided, and they will don masks when they interact with visitors and staff to avoid spreading infections. They will also be asked to supply nasal and throat swabs throughout the study, which will entail washing out their nostrils and placing pieces of filter paper inside their noses for several minutes at a time. Researchers concede it might a bit uncomfortable at times but claim it should not be painful or risky.
In addition, the volunteers must sit inside a small glass room known as the “cough box,” where they will be asked to cough, talk, and sing to create droplets of saliva in the air that researchers can sample. Psychological tests will be used to monitor their emotional well-being throughout the study. Finally, they’ll be given antibiotics to clear up any whooping cough infections they develop before they are sent back into the community.
This really begs the question: If whooping cough is truly the extremely dangerous disease that vaccine pushers would have us believe, how could such a trial be ethical? If suffering a bout of this illness – which they promise will be cured at the end of the study with a round of antibiotics – is only worth a few thousand dollars, room and board included for two and a half weeks, and it’s so easily cured with antibiotics, is it really something that everyone needs to be vaccinated against?
They’ve got one thing right, of course: The current vaccine isn’t very effective, with whopping cough affecting vaccinated kids at almost the same rate as the rest of the population. Moreover, the side effects and dangers of the current Tdap vaccine – which include brain damage, encephalitis, and death – outweigh the risk of getting the disease.
Not surprisingly, the human experiment is being funded by the pharmaceutical industry and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. If that doesn’t scare you, it should; Gates has said in the past that he wants to lower the world’s population to somehow slow climate change, and now it appears he’s willing to pay you to help him reach his goals.
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