There's a lot of down time waiting for the vaccine to get here, and then I'll be under observation for 3 hours after so I figured "why not."

I just got the vaccine at 8:58am EST.

I have been supplementing my income by participating as a healthy volunteer for studies at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD over the last year. I started doing fMRI studies with the NIMH. I've gotten more adventurous lately and managed to get accepted into this fairly high profile study. I am the 13th human to receive this particular vaccine of the first 20-person cohort and the 3rd to receive the highest dose.

Here is a report that mentions this exact study..

My Proof

Update 1: just got my vitals checked and the bandaid pulled. I'm still normal and that bandaid was the worst pain I've experienced all day.

Update 2: goodbye inbox and thanks for the gold! I learned about how to keep my diary and have to report symptoms based on their scale of "mild, moderate, or severe" where mild isn't enough to mess with my day-to-day, but severe is "incapacitating." I can report the latter after I get treatment.

Update 3: I've been released back into the general population. Still no symptoms. I have to go to work now, but I'll be back after 8 or so my time. I also got some sweet swag that I'll post when I get home. Thank you all for my Reddit glory!

Last Update (for now): I'm home and back with Odysseus and a real keyboard for the first time all day. I'm going to answer some more questions before going to bed. Its almost 12 hours since I got the vaccine. I feel like I just had a 12 hour day at work, which I pretty much did. The arm I got the shot in is ever so slightly tender but other than that I'm just tired.

Here's the VRC swag I got. That's about all I have to report. I'll update this if something major happens, but otherwise I'll check back in with a new AmA in 28 days, so keep a lookout!

Last update for real: I felt it was relevant to share that I had a headache and a 100.5 temp this morning, but popped some Tylenol and all of that went away. I went to work where I got strongarmed into running a half-mile leg of the annual relay with my coworkers. I hate running, so it sucked, but I wasn't the slowest leg and now I feel 100% normal.

Tl;dR - I got the new, experimental Ebola vaccine and experienced the normal vaccine symptoms, but felt good enough to run in a relay the next day.

Comments: 1199 • Responses: 60  • Date: 

jeremycb291406 karma

Ok i'm going to be the guy that asks here, but they don't give you Ebola right?

animostic_shep1570 karma

No. Its a viral DNA vector. It causes some of my cells to express ebola proteins to illicit an immune response. The DNA can't replicate and will be gone within a couple weeks.

I was told about a thousand times that I cannot get Ebola from it and it was even on a true/false quiz testing my understanding about the study this morning.

Bear_Taco619 karma

I've never had a better moment to say this but, YEAH SCIENCE BITCH.

That is next level vaccination right there. Preventing the virus while making it impossible to actually get it? That is something I could get behind.

Every time I get vaccine for the new flu, I get the flu and it pisses me off.

When this ebola vaccine becomes official I will be in line for it.

animostic_shep339 karma

I think the universal, one-time-dose flu vaccine is pretty close to being figured out. I think there's at least one that's already in clinical trials. A different flu vaccine was scheduled to start human trials here this month, but got pushed back when Ebola became a high priority.

jeremycb29287 karma

Thank you for answering my question, and even though you said you are just doing it for the money, you are a far braver person then I can be. Its people like you that end up saving lives and never get thanked for it. Good luck, and I hope that everything works out for you!

animostic_shep358 karma

Its not just for the money, I'm very interested in translational research and experiencing it from the guinea pig side is very rewarding. But yeah, the money helps. This one study will fund most of my grad school application costs, though not in time for application season.

Dininiful80 karma

Do you need to stay in shape, eat healthy and all that jazz to keep participating on these trials?

animostic_shep135 karma

I'm supposed to maintain my lifestyle. I've been asked to not start any new diets or workouts. I'm not obligated to do so, but if I do it could cause fluctuations in my bloodwork which will cause problems for the researchers and probably result in me getting stuck with more needles.

Theory568 karma


Just kidding. How much are they paying you, and how long are you expected to "check in" after they release you into the wild?

EDIT: I found your response to how long you have to check in:

animostic_shep84 karma

I also gave the numbers for each visit somewhere, but its almost $1700 over 48 weeks.

Flederman64241 karma

Question 1.)
We will be giving you straight up bleed out the ass Ebola.
[ ] True [ ] False

animostic_shep226 karma

[ ] True [X] False

someguyfromtheuk29 karma

Does this help people who already have Ebola as well, or is it just for people who are at risk of catching it, but haven't already got it?

animostic_shep68 karma

Its currently a vaccine for prevention, not a treatment for those already infected.

The_Eagle_Has_Landed840 karma

Have you ever considered a surgery to become full human instead of a human/guinea pig hybrid?

animostic_shep708 karma

I was born this way. I'm going to own it.

sotomoto604 karma

You don't have to answer if it is too invasive, but how much money are we talking about here?

animostic_shep741 karma

$100 for each of 2 pre-trial evaluations. $275 for today. $25 for keeping a 7 day diary. Then $175 each time I come back for blood draws.

Aerxet386 karma

Uh, so where do I sign up?

animostic_shep389 karma

If you're close to DC/MD/VA, check out the VRC website.

If not, is great.

Stickybomber168 karma

That's not a lot of money to suffer from serious complications if the vaccine has flaws. Damn, I don't know if I could ever be part of trials like this. I would just worry too much

animostic_shep271 karma

If anything goes wrong and is related to the study, I'll get free treatment at the NIH Clinical Center. Its full of most of the best doctors in the world, so I'm not worried.

I also never signed anything that says I can't sue them if something does go wrong. There's actually a line in my consent form that says I can.

malau1-10 karma

They injected you with live Ebola??!!!

animostic_shep16 karma


redditratman2 karma

No, they gave him similar virus thingy which makes his body respond to ebola. The virus cannot replicate and thus the viral charge will never become significant enough to kill him. Or so we hope... Don't die OP

rutiene28 karma

To everyone that has made comments about how little it is:

There are serious ethical issues with large monetary incentives in terms of consent. When you're offering a lot of money, you are taking away a bit of choice from those in extreme poverty to not do the study. In fact, most of the monetary compensation given in studies are given as reimbursement, and do not count as a monetary incentive (money for taking work off, gas money, food money, child care money, etc). Of course, this can be taken into the extreme (any amount of money is exploitation and violates consent) and some do, but there is a balance to be drawn between social good and human rights. This is why IRB's (institutional review boards) exist and has to approve of every study in the U.S.

animostic_shep10 karma

Right. its not an incentive but a reimbursement for my time. All benefits to me are not in any way an intention of the study.

merganzer304 karma

How do they test to see if the vaccine is effective? (Assuming they don't send y'all to Liberia or anything; if they do, I hope they pay well.)

animostic_shep344 karma

They draw blood and check for antibodies

xxflufyniplesxx138 karma


animostic_shep214 karma

I call to check up tomorrow, then they'll draw on Sunday, next Wednesday, 3 weeks after that, then it gets spaced further and further until the last one at 48 weeks.

xxflufyniplesxx245 karma


animostic_shep332 karma

The worst one is a severe allergic reaction, but they've never seen that in the VRC and they're well prepared if it does

xxflufyniplesxx291 karma


animostic_shep279 karma

They only have a sample size of 12 (13 with me) so they really don't know for sure, but the components of the vaccine have been used in other studies, just not this combination. That gives them a general idea. The worst they've had is a fever from one of the other two people that got the same dose I did

baconismidog147 karma

Shit bro, you're #13. That doesn't bode well (at least to my superstitious side)

animostic_shep129 karma

I cross my fingers whenever I pass a graveyard, just in case I'm in a situation where I need to get a hit.

anotherguy248 karma


xxflufyniplesxx78 karma


anotherguy2123 karma


xxflufyniplesxx112 karma


animostic_shep219 karma

That would make for a much more interesting AMA

xxflufyniplesxx94 karma


animostic_shep182 karma

I'm not one to let karma go wasted

Pure_Michigan_36 karma

Again, whore!!!!!

Jk much love! You sexy Ebola beast.

animostic_shep28 karma

I feel like a dirty whore, bit I'm still gonna post a pic of the unexpected swag they gave me in a new thread.

animostic_shep73 karma

We've made a lot of pregnancy jokes because there's a lot of warnings about unknown effects on a fetus. This is the first study where they've drawn blood and actually remembered to uncheck the 'pregnancy test' box

thomasdelege184 karma

What do you think is going to happen with you after you get the vaccine?

animostic_shep245 karma

I might get a fever, but I don't expect to feel any different tomorrow. I'll be back to work later this afternoon.

matthewheat255 karma

What if you turn into a zombie dude?

animostic_shep754 karma

That's a loaded question with too many variables. BUT! I'd hope I become a fast, smart zombie and manage to actually spread the zombie factor and get the zombie apocalypse going so I don't die alone in the initial panic. Then I hope I (un)live long enough to be cured by meeting an open-minded, hot, and uninfected girl who falls in love with me.

sillygirlsarah214 karma

Someones been watching Warm Bodies while waiting for their vaccine!

animostic_shep191 karma

I'm a huge zombie movie fan. If I end up like Fido I'm gonna eat all the neighbors

ReferenceError36 karma

Is that any good?

Initial trailers made me think 'huh, never thought of that angle on the zombie apocalypse before... seems interesting'. Then later trailers made me think it was a paper thin rom-com that was only trying to bank on "you know what's hot right now? Zombies."

animostic_shep63 karma

Its pretty good. Ive liked Nicholas Hoult since Skins.


Wow. Good answer. Have you been waiting for someone to ask 'what if you became a zombie' for a while?

animostic_shep30 karma

Yes. I've been bragging to all my friends that I'm getting vacced against the zombie apocalypse. I'll be buying a good hatchet this weekend, just in case

Dininiful13 karma

Fast zombies are bad enough... Smart, fast zombies... Jesus christ now there's a movie I'd like to see.

Theory544 karma

That's why a scientist will be standing by with a sharpened axe, duh. They are professionals, they take precautions against this sort of thing.

winterd145 karma

animostic_shep81 karma

Its too soon to tell. Will update.

ForgingIron132 karma

You're awesome for doing this. People like you are what make medical science work. What made you want to get the vaccine?

animostic_shep166 karma

Graduate school applications aren't cheap and this one study will cover most of them (eventually), but I'm headed for a career in biomedical research and the guinea pig experience is enlightening.

chaser67616 karma

Have ignorant people treated you differently when they found out you're doing this? Like, they think you're going to cough on them and transmit non-existent ebola?

animostic_shep64 karma

I havent spent a lot of time in public since this morning, but most people think I'm at risk of getting Ebola and are concerned. The odds of me getting Ebola are the same as me going sterile from a GMO seedless watermelon: zero

Science_Monster106 karma

What is it like knowing that if the current outbreak of ebola goes from epidemic to pandemic, that you'll likely be one of the few that survive?

animostic_shep112 karma

I relate it to a lot of the zombie movies I watch

TheHulacaust89 karma

Are you in isolation, or otherwise hospitalized, during the study?

animostic_shep131 karma

I'm hanging out in the "post vaccination room" and can't leave for 3 hours, but I'm not quarantined. A few people have come by just to say hi and to read my shirt 'cause the doctor who's in charge keeps telling everyone about it.

nothertheothergirl96 karma

What's your shirt say? "Keep calm" and something something...

animostic_shep225 karma

What is that, a coffee machine?.

I felt it was appropriate since I had to be here at 7am

Theory563 karma

Ouch, gotta get up before 7? I would just demand a mainline IV filled with coffee.

animostic_shep83 karma

I fainted when I got an IV for a drug study in June. I'm one of those people

unorignal_username110 karma

fellow sourcefed lover I see...

animostic_shep22 karma

Apparently I got mentioned in a Congressional hearing this morning, but I'd rather get a shout out from PhillyD. Lee Newton really, but I feel that might be overstepping.

tptguy8364 karma

Have you experienced negative side effects in the past? Are you not worried that you're causing damage to yourself long term? Do you participate in any other risky behavior?

Seriously though, what the hell. Please tell me you're not planning on doing this forever. I worry for your safety, internet stranger.

animostic_shep127 karma

The worst one I ever did was an anxiety study. As a healthy volunteer they induced anxiety with electric shocks to my fingers, but the worst part was the sound they blasted in my ears to distract me from the task.

I'm not much of a regular risk taker. I went skydiving once 9 years ago.

I'm applying to graduate schools and that shits not cheap.

tptguy8338 karma

Ok, I feel better now. I was getting anxious thinking about you taking a bunch of untested drugs as an ongoing means-to-an-end. I applaud your effort in doing what it takes to get into graduate school, although I do wish you could find something else. Donate plasma maybe??

animostic_shep80 karma

I'm persuing a career in research so this is just way more interesting and I feel like I have a decent understanding of what they're doing

gingerbeardy37 karma

I've been curious in "supplementing my income" as well. How effective is this way, and is it pretty easy too?

animostic_shep57 karma

I work in the Clinical Research Center so its usually just a matter of taking a long lunch or a morning off (like today). I've never seen any negative effects and the compensation is always worth it.

Though, I have a friend who got $50 for a muscle biopsy and her was limping for days. I won't do anything that invasive.

Theory537 karma

$50 for a biopsy, don't those things hurt like hell, especially a muscle one?

animostic_shep39 karma

Yeah. He missed a kickball game because it was from his leg and he couldn't run. That's the only study I wouldn't recommend. fMRI studies are super cush though

Theory516 karma

Cool! I believe the only person I know who did an MRI was my mum during her cancer treatment, and she is mildly claustrophobic so it wasn't fun for her, but it doesn't seem to bad to me to just be lying there, except that you have to remain completely still.

fMRI is where they ask you questions and stuff to gauge your brain responses, right? I believe she had to do that too.

animostic_shep20 karma

Yup. Its very claustrophobic and loud, but if you get passed that, they have a problem with people falling asleep.

I'm sorry she was in it for cancer. Playing "spiderman or green goblin" was a lot more fun.

chewinthecud31 karma

A random question, but do these trials disqualify you for receiving life insurance? If not, I have to assume the premiums are ridiculously high.

iEuphoria34 karma

(Former) life insurance agent here.

If he were to apply for life insurance while doing this on the side it would be counted as occupational hazard. He may or may not qualify for a standard plan, if he does qualify his premium would either be high or he can put in a stipulation on the contract that states that the insurer does not have to pay the insured if his demise was related to this specific hazard. That could keep his premiums relatively low.

And whether he is applying for term or whole life also factors in..

animostic_shep7 karma

Thanks for this.

animostic_shep20 karma

I'm not sure. Its possible, but I get free treatment for anything related to the study.

jckiker28 karma

I just installed the Official Reddit AMA app. Is it working?

animostic_shep19 karma

I tried to do this with it and couldn't figure it out. I got a notice saying that I was trending from it, though

jckiker12 karma

I got the same notification. I clicked on it and this AMA popped up.

animostic_shep18 karma

Hah! I thought it was just for me since it was my AmA. Guess I'm not special.

Dubesta1125 karma

Did you die?

animostic_shep42 karma

Still not dead yet

hometowngypsy25 karma

Do you think you'll feel pressure to go to Africa and help since you're potentially safer than other health care workers? From yourself or outside influences?

animostic_shep36 karma

I would actually love the opportunity, but I don't even have a passport so it's unlikely and no, I doubt I'll be pressured.

TotallyNotADrone20 karma

So how do they test your immunity to ebola after the vaccine?

animostic_shep11 karma

I think its a basic antibody pull-down. Just blood tests from my end.

Dr_SnM18 karma

Will you be immune to Ebola after this?

animostic_shep29 karma

Maybe, maybe not. I think the monkeys needed a booster after a time to keep up immunity, so that might be the case. The harsh reality is that 95% of positive animal trials end up with zilch in humans

owlbewb12 karma

Coffee machine? Are you a SourceFed fan or did you just find that shirt?

animostic_shep9 karma

I've been subscribed to PhillyD for like 5 years. Been following SourceFed since its beginning. The story on Tide being an underground currency is my reigning favorite.

breakin2511 karma

Hi, How can you be sure you did not receive the Placebo? Well you can't be sure otherwise the trials become biased. So how can you be sure you got the Ebola Vaccine?

animostic_shep16 karma

There is no placebo in this trial. Time and volunteers are too precious at the present time.

PurpleRainMage9 karma

Do you secretly make a wish with every injection that maybe, just maybe...superpowers?

animostic_shep9 karma

Yup. My wish is specifically for Animorph powers. Y'know, since its DNA and all.

BlazeHawkHD9 karma

What are the Ebola pains like?

animostic_shep28 karma

I hope I never have to know.

Dodecahedrus7 karma

So this must be a double blind study, 50% chance of a placebo?

animostic_shep7 karma

No blinds here. Since they're not exposing me to Ebola, a blind would only prove that the side effects I feel are specifically from the vaccine. Technically it would be needed to show the vaccine itself caused the antibody productions, but the odds of me developing them any other way are slim

lawfulwaful3 karma

If you get the actual cure, will you get some particular reward? Will you continue this as a way to get income?

animostic_shep3 karma

Its not a cure, just a vaccine. It will be cool to be the 13th (or even 3rd) human of 8 billion to be immune to such a scary virus, but I'll still be a broke scientist, so I'll probably be looking into more trials when I become eligible again.

danhakimi2 karma

Aren't you terrified?

animostic_shep4 karma

Not at all. There's almost no real risk, its all theoretical. And the people here a really, really nice