Jake Eberts, a 26-year-old man from Washington, USA, agreed to drink “bacteria juice” to receive US$ 7,000 (about R$ 35,000). He participated in a University of Maryland study that seeks to test a vaccine against dysentery. With the experience, the boy gave a series of accounts of this process – from the horrible symptoms of the disease to more disgusting moments.
Eberts ingested a dose of the Shigella bacteria, responsible for causing the disease, and was quarantined at a university hospital. He narrated the whole process on Twitter and, on the third day, he woke up with “something funny” in his belly, having to run to the bathroom. For the next 48 hours, the boy had to deal with stomach cramps, diarrhea with blood in the stool, a fever of 39.4 degrees and an overwhelming feeling of exhaustion.
“I went to the bathroom and every part of it – getting up, walking, getting toilet paper – felt like a Herculean effort.”, he said, who ended up in the toilet 11 times in the same day. The situation got so intense, Jake thought he might die. “It was the most brutal illness I ever had, and I wanted to die for six hours. I cannot imagine how terrifying this disease is for young children.”detailed.
(as opposed to just diarrhea — blood in the stool makes it dysentery!) Anyways that was the most brutally sick I have ever been, and I wanted to die for a solid six hours. I cannot imagine how terrifying this disease is for a small child. 💔
—Jake Eberts (@wokeglobaltimes) April 9, 2022
This was the cue for the nurses to quickly start the treatment, when they realized that the infection had already set in. Eberts was given fluids to prevent dehydration and antibiotics to help fight the disease. The next day, the young man said he felt “much better”, despite having continued to go to the bathroom and having reached a fever of 38.3º. A day later, the evolution was greater and her bowel movements appeared to be “more normal”. In total, it took him four days to recover.
Jake was one of 16 people who received the two doses of the vaccine, one month apart, as part of phase 2 trials of the Shigella immunizer. Half of the participants received a dose of vaccine, while the other received a placebo – necessary to understand the effectiveness within that group of people. While the young man was one of the first to fall ill, 11 people had dysentery in the following days. Another 4 had the disease in the asymptomatic form.
At this time of testing, it is still unclear who received a real dose and a placebo dose. However, Eberts believes that he was one of those who did not actually receive the immunizer, due to the state he was left after the “bacteria juice”. “If I got the vaccine, that’s bad news for the vaccine”he told The Insider.
The “diary” of the research days still had bizarre details. According to Jake, he also had to use a potty to relieve himself. The feces then had to be transferred to a biohazard bag, carried down the aisle, and delivered to the researchers to extract and analyze samples of the material. Once that was done, the poop was poured into the toilet, soaked in bleach, and the toilet was only flushed five minutes later, so that the product worked.
A stinky and uncomfortable routine… But all for science, right?