Booking a nice hotel in Florida can be pretty expensive. There are a lot of vacation spots and tourist attractions in the tropical state. But this one hotel is very affordable. In fact, they actually pay guests to check into their establishment. The only catch is that you will be purposefully exposed to the influenza virus.
The hotel is actually an on-campus hotel of St. Louis University. The school’s Center for Vaccine Development converted the hotel into a research hub for the common flu. “Guests” at the hotel will be paid volunteers in a human study to evaluate the effectiveness of the vaccines that they are developing. Rather than keeping tabs on subjects in the real world who may or may not contract the virus, the center will expose the occupants to germs and evaluate the response.
The center is offering $3500 for each guest. The amount is to cover the travel expenses, and the rest as compensation for getting the flu. The exposure does not guarantee that each guest will get sick. If the guest happens to be treated with a vaccine and not a placebo, there’s a chance they will be just fine. If they do get sick, they have 24-hour medical care that can help in minimizing the discomfort. Guests are also not allowed to leave until they are no longer contagious. The typical duration of the stay for the study is 10 days.
The center is hoping that this kind of specific research will help improve vaccines for the flu and to someday develop a universal vaccine for all strains of the virus. The study will be up and running in the next few months.