Getting the flu sucks, so why not do it in style?
Researchers at Saint Louis University's Center for Vaccine Development are offering that opportunity, although their reason for it is much more scientific and less glib. They want to infect willing participants with the influenza virus — after giving them either a real vaccine or a placebo — and then monitor how their body reacts, the Center for Vaccine Development's director Daniel Hoft said.
Here's what's in it for you: A free stay at "Hotel Influenza," a payout of around $3,500, catered meals and access to TV and internet.
Scientists will infect you with some strain of the flu and either a real or fake vaccine, according to a Saint Louis University press release, and then take tests of your nose, blood and lungs to see if you came down with the aggravating virus.
It'll all happen in the university's Salus Center, which comes equipped with 24 hotel rooms that were specifically made to house quarantined people undergoing tests exactly like this one, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
It's called a "human challenge" test — and the goal is to determine how vaccines and flu strains respond to each other. Hoft explained why it's helpful for scientists to study participants whom they have purposefully infected with the flu.
“You know when they’re exposed to the flu, so can plan exactly when to study it," he said in the press release. "You are not waiting for nature to take its course. If a challenge trial shows the vaccine protected a small group of volunteers against flu, you can be much more confident the vaccine is more likely to be worth the hundreds of millions of dollars of investment to go through phase 3 development."