Researchers paying volunteers $3,300 to be infected with the flu

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FILE – In this Feb. 7, 2018 file photo, a nurse prepares a flu shot at the Salvation Army in Atlanta. The flu forecast is cloudy and it’s too soon to know if the U.S. is in for a third miserable season in a row, but health officials said Thursday, Sept. 26, 2019 not to delay vaccination. (AP Photo/David Goldman, File)

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Flu season is upon us, and while most people are trying their hardest to avoid catching the virus, one group of volunteers is willingly being infected.

A group of up to 80 people between the ages of 18 and 50 will take part in a clinical trial by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). Each participant will receive a nasal spray containing a strain of seasonal influenza virus developed by NIAID scientists. Once inhaled, the virus will produce mild to moderate flu in most recipients.

So, what’s in it for the volunteers? A paycheck. Each participant in the trial will be paid $3,300, according to CNN.

To get to pay day, volunteers will stay in the clinic for at least seven full days. During that time, blood samples and nasal and throat swabs will be taken. All flu symptoms, including fever, muscle aches and weakness will be recorded daily for 14 days after the virus is given. Participants will also have a 90 day follow up, where blood and nasal samples will again be taken.

The lead location for the trial is the University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore. Other locations are the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, and the Saint Louis University Center for Vaccine Development.

The trial results are expected in May 2020.

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