CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Want to lose weight, quit smoking and get paid $3,000 to do it?
The National Institutes of Health Clinical Center has a way to help people stick with two popular New Year's resolutions, make some decent folding money, and help researchers find the most effective ways to treat a major infectious disease. The catch?
You have to get infected with a flu virus, according to an Associated Press story that appeared last week. Instead of getting sneezed on by a flu patient or handling virus-friendly doorknobs, test subjects have flu virus sprayed into their noses, then wait for the flu-like symptoms to kick in.
A few other commitments need to be made to take part in the study and collect up to $3,000 for the inconvenience, according to the National Institutes for Health website www.clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01971255.
In addition to getting a dose of the flu, participants must remain quarantined in the Center for at least 9 days, refrain from tobacco use, fill out questionnaires and have their noses swabbed daily for clinical examination. To qualify, subjects have to be 18 to 50 years old, in good health, and have smoked no more than four cigarettes a week in the months preceding the study.
Government researchers have apparently signed up all the human guinea pigs needed for this year's study, but they plan to use 100 subjects in a similar study next year.
I would sign up for the study in a heartbeat, and use my ill-gotten retainer to finance a trip to someplace warm and tropical.
Where I'd probably catch the flu .