This is an interesting offer...

I just came across the following article in The Scientist. It made me say, are you serious!?!?!

The Scientist: NewsBlog:
Test a vax, fly to Mexico
Posted by Jef Akst
[Entry posted at 6th January 2010 03:00 PM GMT]

Want to go to Central America for free? All it takes is your participation in a clinical trial for a diarrhea vaccine. A patch worn on the arm can earn you a complimentary trip to one of nine cities in Mexico and Guatemala, courtesy of Intercell AG.

The Austrian drug company is recruiting 1800 volunteers for the phase III clinical trial of a vaccine against enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli -- a major cause of traveler's diarrhea, which affects about 20 million visitors to countries such as Africa, Asia and Latin America, as well as illness in more than 200 million children living in those countries each year. If approved, it would be the first vaccine for traveler's diarrhea available in the US.

A couple years ago, we looked at the question of how researchers and companies decide on compensation for subjects' participation in clinical trials. But the trip offered by the Austrian company seems to be an entirely new recruitment tactic, the BMJ reports.

Intercell joined forces with Inclinix, Inc., a North Carolina-based clinical trial enrollment solutions provider, to devise a strategy including partnerships with major travel and tourism websites, as well as a variety of social networking outlets, including Twitter and YouTube. "Social communication avenues allow Inclinix to reach a unique audience," Diane Montross, director of patient recruitment for Inclinix, told Medical News Today. "We are defining the next patient recruitment landscape."

In addition to the flight to Central America, participants will receive at least six nights of three star accommodations, pre-paid mobile phones, welcome kits with useful travel tools, and $1,500 in cash upon completion of the study. Participants will be given either the active vaccine or a placebo before travel, give blood within 48 hours of arrival, keep a stool diary throughout their trip, and provide additional blood and stool samples if they develop diarrhea.

For more information go to the TREK Research Study site.

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

mdr's picture
mdr says:

I'm awful tempted! A free trip to the Tropics, and the only catch is the possibility of months of severe diarrhea or even dysentery. Sign me up!

posted on Wed, 01/06/2010 - 4:12pm
JGordon's picture
JGordon says:

But, hey—severe diarrhea is always a possibility on a trip to the tropics. I'd practically feel cheated without it. Also, it's not often that my "stool diary" gets appreciated.

posted on Wed, 01/06/2010 - 4:47pm
Molly P's picture
Molly P says:

I wonder how they got that by their human subjects review board (the people who ensure research on humans is conducted ethically)? Seems like a free trip to the tropics plus $1500 would probably qualify as coercion. Especially with the invitation occurring in January.

posted on Thu, 01/07/2010 - 1:35pm
shanai's picture
shanai says:

Good point -

This reminds me of a really fascinating zine I was introduced to a few years ago by a University bioethicist who studies the use (and abuse) of human test subjects.


posted on Thu, 01/07/2010 - 3:29pm
JGordon's picture
JGordon says:

From the museum floor:

I wonder what it is-if it is using antibiotics as a preventative that is not good!? As long a you are getting treatment and it works you would be home free. If you are getting the placebo or the patch does not work that is where trouble begins. I wonder if you could choose in this case. I would imagine one could take the traditional approach and take antibiotics upon return home if you do get sick, I think I would go for it-depends on the rules. If you just have to take the pill but can choose what to drink that would be easy.

Thanks! BEK

posted on Thu, 01/07/2010 - 5:49pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Africa, Latin America, and Asia are not countries. Saying that they are perpetuates the rasism that surrounds the people and policies toward the people who live on the continents or in the large regions. Please edit.

posted on Sat, 03/10/2012 - 10:23am

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