‘I wanted to die for six hours’, says man who ingested bacteria | Health

Jake participated in a study to verify the effectiveness of a vaccine
Reproduction / social networks

Jake participated in a study to verify the effectiveness of a vaccine

A 26-year-old American man drank a liquid contaminated with the Shigella bacteria, responsible for causing dysentery, to test the effectiveness of a vaccine against the disease. The experiment, conducted by the University of Maryland, USA, was part of phase II studies of the immunizer.

Jake Eberts used social media to give details of how the research went and gave details of what he went through when facing the disease.

The boy reports that he was very ill and thought he was “going to die” due to the severe diarrhea which he suffered about 48 hours after ingesting the contaminated liquid. He faced stomach cramps, diarrhea with blood in the stool, a fever of 39.4°C, and felt so exhausted that lifting any of his limbs was a “Herculean effort” (too much effort).

During the study, he stayed in a dormitory with the other participants. When he began to show symptoms of the disease, he was attended by nurses at the university hospital. He was quickly given isotonic drinks to combat dehydration. Days later, he was also medicated with antibiotics to control the infection. He recovered in four days.

Eberts was infected in a challenge trial, in which participants are given an experimental vaccine or placebo and then later exposed to the disease they were inoculated against. To participate in the study, he received about $7,000. This type of study is not authorized in Brazil.

Before becoming infected, Eberts received two injections about a month apart and was in isolation for 11 days. He suspects that he took the placebo because he developed a very serious illness.

“This was the most brutal disease I’ve ever had, and I wanted to die for six hours. I can’t imagine how terrifying this disease is for a young child,” Eberts said on social media.

Dysentery caused by the Shigella bacteria affects about 160 million people a year and causes approximately 600,000 deaths (due to dehydration). Shigella is transmitted through contaminated food and water, as well as surfaces contaminated with the bacteria (if a person touches their hand and takes it to their mouth without washing).

On social media, Eberts offered three reasons for his participation in the study, before he was infected: “1, to help the less fortunate and promote modern medicine (read: to be a sycophant and a hypocrite); 2, I get enough money to basically cover rent for the rest of the year; 3, I get paid even if I don’t have dysentery.”

Disgusting details and ‘kitty’ for design

Eberts turned social media into a diary to detail every moment of the study, even the most disgusting. He said that during the study he had to use a potty-shaped hat to relieve himself.

After relieving himself, he needed to transfer the feces into a biohazard bag and carry it down the hall to the researchers who would extract samples from it. After the nurses got what they needed for the study, he would flush the rest of his bodily waste down the toilet and douse it with bleach. Before flushing, it was necessary to wait for 5 minutes for the product to take effect.

Despite being an exhausting process, collecting waste from patients played a vital role in testing how the vaccine works because measurements of stool, urine and blood helped researchers determine what kind of immune response the vaccine produced.

The scientists analyzed the anti-Shigella IgA antibodies in the various droppings, recording the exact amount and type of cytokines that are in the patients’ stool.

Given the notoriety he gained by reporting the study daily, Eberts used his minutes of fame to do good. During his social isolation, he managed to raise more than US$ 24,000 for “The Water Project”, an NGO that brings clean and safe water to several communities around the world.

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About Jenni Smith

She's our PC girl, so anything is up to her. She is also responsible for the videos of Play Crazy Game, as well as giving a leg in the news.

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