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Need income? Test smallpox vaccine

Earning opportunities are available if you're willing to be a guinea pig.

By Karen Datko Feb 2, 2010 8:18PM

We weren’t eligible for the free vacation offered in exchange for trying out a new traveler’s diarrhea drug. (Darn.) But the opportunities to make money from clinical trials keep on coming.

 

Newest on our radar screen is research involving two forms of a smallpox vaccine, organized by St. Louis University’s Center for Vaccine Development and available at five locations across the U.S. It pays $75 for each of seven monthly visits. That’s $525.

 

Smallpox? Isn’t that a deadly disease that was wiped from the face of the Earth years ago -- in 1980, to be exact? As far as anyone knows, whatever is left is stored in heavily secured (we hope) locations.

 

We found answers via a post at Riverfront Times, a St. Louis blog.

 

A statement from the university said:

Due to concerns of biowarfare and bioterrorism throughout the world, the United States government is making efforts to improve its ability to protect its citizens in the event of a possible bioterrorist attack with the smallpox virus. The purpose of this research is to compare the immune responses of an investigational smallpox vaccine prepared in two different ways (liquid or powder with liquid added) and given in two different ways (just under the skin or between the layers of the skin).

To participate, you must be healthy, at least 18 years of age, and born after 1971. You're out if you've ever been vaccinated for smallpox. A total of 250 volunteers are needed in St. Louis, Atlanta, Seattle, Iowa and Maryland.

 

If you’re not near one of those locations, but earning extra money as a guinea pig appeals to you, a National Institutes of Health Web site called ClinicalTrials.gov can direct you to other trials that are recruiting. There we think we found a match for the clinical trial described above. Additional qualifications are spelled out.

The clinical trial at the NIH site involves Imvamune, which is derived from “a highly attenuated pox virus that has lost the capacity to replicate in human cells, hence solving the main safety issue of conventional vaccines,” the manufacturer’s Web site says.

 

Even if we lived near one of the five locations and met the requirements, we’d pass. Clinical trials come with risks. However, in tough times they're attractive to more people. MSN Money columnist Liz Pulliam Weston included them among her “20 ways to make $100 more a month.” She said:

This job would give many of us the willies, but poster LSG7168-WIR wrote: "A lot of my friends ... participate in clinical trials. ... I've seen tons of ads for just answering surveys (~$10 each), a few for trying new drugs or vaccines ($200-$2,500) and one for eating a new kind of mushroom and describing whether you like the taste better or worse than other mushrooms ($50)."

Would you apply if a clinical trial were offered where you live?

 

Related reading:

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