Student paid to get typhoid

first_imgOne Oxford student is planning to catch typhoid fever in exchange forover £3000 as part of a University medical trial.Ben Conroy, a student at St Peter’scollege, hopes that the pre-screening will find him eligible to take part in a medical trial organised by the Oxford Vaccine Group, an independent research group which is part of the Oxford University Department of Paediatrics.He told Cherwell, “The long and short of it is that I signed up so I could pay my rent. It’s a quick way to make a large cash sum. I’m aware there is a risk of developing typhoid fever which would probably mean four horrible days in bed but the trial has a lot of safety measures to ensure that you get treated as soon as symptoms develop.”Participants will be given either the old or new vaccine, or a placebo. Four weeks later they will face the ‘typhoid challenge’ by drinking a solution containing Salmonella Typhi bacteria. Some participants are expected to develop typhoidfever as a result, which may lead to a raised temperature, tiredness, headaches, pains, loss of appetite, stomach pains and sickness.While typhoid fever is threatening if left untreated, killing 200,000 worldwide a year, it is highly unlikely that it will prove fatal within this trial. Sufferers will immediately betreated with antibiotics, and all participants will be treated as a precaution even if they do not develop any symptoms within two weeks.The trial’s organisers intend to make provisions so that friends of those taking part will not be in danger of contracting typhoid –including providing soap and disposable towels, and promising,“to offer peace of mind to your household and close contacts, we will offer them voluntary screening.”Conroy commented, “Many of my friends are supportive, loads of offers of chicken soup etc, and some even want to join the trial themselves. My mum is a little more apprehensive but that’s what she’s there for!”Participants will receive money for their efforts which may reach £3350 by the end of the third year of monitoring.Some have expressed reservations about the ethics of drugs trials. One student commented, “Of coursethese tests are benevolent in their intentions. Of course we need to find more effective cures for serious diseases. And of course testing these things on humans is a necessary evil that will ultimately benefit the entire human race. But if young students are willing to pawn themselves to scientific experimentation, potentially causing permanent harm to their health for a bit of extra cash, it throws a harsh light on students’ financial desperation who have to turn to these kinds of schemes for money – a problem that is only going to become more acute with next year’s fee increase.”last_img read more