Are you ready to get dangerous parasites for the sake of science?

Are you ready to get dangerous parasites for the sake of science?


Sometimes in order to test the cure for any disease, scientists have had to recruit a group of volunteers ready to put their lives in danger for the greater good. Of course, most subjects pay some financial compensation for possible negative consequences. Norwegian researchers decided on an extremely dangerous experiment: they offered to give the volunteers a deadly parasites – worms-trematodes causing the disease schistosomiasis. What do you think, how science evaluates these risks to health?

Schistosomiasis – a parasitic tropical disease caused by worms-trematodes of the genus Schistosoma, hence the name of the disease. After penetration of the parasites in the host organism (most often, the infection occurs through water), the latter starts dermatitis, acute fever, severe intoxication, the defeat of the intestine, urogenital organs and other unpleasant consequences. The disease is so difficult and dangerous that it annually kills up to 200,000 people. The risk of infection by parasites are exposed to the residents of the 52 tropical countries, making search the most effective drugs for schistosomiasis is extremely important for science.

To combat parasites today use the drug praziquantel – he had been included in the list of vital and essential medicines. Praziquantel increases the permeability of cell membranes of parasites of worms for calcium, which ultimately leads to their paralysis and death. Also, the drug makes worms more vulnerable to the immune system of the host, as well as for the digestive enzymes of the gastrointestinal tract. Even despite the fact that praziquantel showed a high efficacy against trematodes, scientists never cease to look for new ways of dealing with parasites.

The staff medical centre at Leiden University recruited a group of 17 volunteers who agreed to be infected with dangerous worms. So, the scientists plan to observe the course of the disease and perhaps find a new more effective and safe ways of treating it. The body of each volunteer will become the incubator for 20 larvae of worms for the entire duration of the experiment, which will last 12 weeks. Test subjects are allowed to live at home and maintain their usual lifestyle, but they are expected to return to the lab every 7 days for a full survey.

Of course, it’s not as scary as it may seem from the beginning. The participants of the experiment will be infected with worms exclusively male, which will eliminate the parasites in the host organism. Because the fast reproduction of parasites schistosomiasis doing so difficult and intractable disease. However, even with minimization of risks, not all scientists are sure that the experimental end of the study will be able to cure the disease and kill in their bodies of parasites. For the subject put your health in danger, each will receive a 1,000 euros compensation. A mere trifle, if you think about the possible consequences.