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defyjoe59 karma

A few years ago, I took part in a flu vaccine trial which involved being quarantined and tested multiple times each day. I do not know if I had the vaccine, or a placebo. I also do not know if I was infected with a flu or not, as it was a double blind experiment. I didn't ever feel terribly ill during it, but I did loose my sense of smell after it. I put it down to the swabs going into my nasal cavity and assumed it would recover. At first, I kept smelling a chemical smell, like petrol, no matter where I was. Then, all sense of smell disappeared.

Fast forward to 2020, in February, my niece had a very persistent cough, which a lot of my family caught. I ended up catching it and was knocked off my feet for about 2 weeks with a horrible cough, fever and tiredness. I suspect it may had been covid-19, but wasn't ever tested. However, since recovering, my sense of smell has returned better than ever. I'm very happy, being able to smell again makes such a huge difference. But I'm curious if you think these events are related? Or if you can help explain why my smell was absent for almost 2 years before coming back stronger than before?

Many thanks for your work, by the way.

defyjoe4 karma

You can indeed! I think I got around £3500 all together (I'm in the UK). From memory, you fill out an extensive questionnaire online. Then, you might get a phone interview. If you are successful, you are invited to London for a medical exam. Travel is reimbursed. If you pass that stage, you are officially invited to take part. You are asked to come back again to receive either the vaccine or a placebo, as well as further tests. Then, a few weeks later, you go back again for another vaccine/placebo jab. Then, after another few weeks, you go back for the main quarantine stay. You get your own room, food, bathroom, TV, internet etc. You can bring your own things for entertainment too.

On arrival, you are shown to your room and given a nasal swab of what could be a flu virus, or, again, a placebo. You have to pick what food you want, 20 days in advance (breakfast, lunch, dinner). You are then left to your own devices, entertaining yourself however you see fit. You are periodically visited by various nurses and doctors, in full quarantine gear, who will perform various tests and procedures. I think it was around 3-8 times a day. The worst were the early morning nasal swabs. I was in quarantine for 11 days until I was told there was no flu virus in me and was allowed to leave, but I think they said it could be anywhere from 10-20 days. They only start testing to see if you have flu after 10 days, I think. A week after leaving, you are given a check up by a doctor over the phone, and then a final phone interview.

If it wasn't for the loss of smell, I'd say it was definitely worth it. The whole process was spread over 2 or 3 months. But very easy money!

defyjoe3 karma

Many thanks. The main thing is that I can smell again! Don't realise how much you rely on it until it's gone. (I'm looking at you, milk!)

For the record, I have no other medical conditions, no stuffy/clogged nose, no allergies etc. I like to think I eat a varied diet, but it is possible that I am/was missing some kind of nutrient or vitamin. Although my diet hasn't changed since then. I double checked, I did the trial in January of 2017, so it's actually been 3 years. The "Flu Camp" I attended was for a universal flu vaccine. Still, I have no proof that the illness I had earlier this year was actually Covid-19, so may just be coincidental and very lucky!