Sometimes in order to test the medicinefrom any disease, scientists have to recruit groups of volunteers willing to endanger their lives in the name of the common good. Of course, most often experimental subjects are paid some material compensation for possible negative consequences. Norwegian researchers decided on an extremely dangerous experiment: they proposed to infect volunteers with deadly parasites - trematode worms that cause schistosomiasis. What do you think, at what time does science evaluate such a health risk?
Schistosomiasis - tropical parasitica disease caused by trematode worms from the genus Schistosoma, where the name of the disease comes from. After parasites enter the host organism (most often infection occurs through water), the latter begins with dermatitis, which turns into fever, severe intoxication, damage to the intestines, urogenital organs and other unpleasant consequences. The disease is so severe and dangerous that up to 200,000 people die from it every year. Residents of 52 tropical countries are at risk of infection with parasites, which makes the search for the most effective cure for schistosomiasis extremely important for science.
To combat parasites today is usedpraziquantel - it has long been on the list of vital and essential medicines. Praziquantel increases the permeability of cell membranes of helminth parasites for calcium, which ultimately leads to paralysis and death. The drug also makes worms more vulnerable to the host’s immune system, as well as to the digestive enzymes of the gastrointestinal tract. Even though praziquantel has been shown to be highly effective against trematodes, scientists do not stop looking for new ways to fight parasites.
Employees of the medical center at Leidenthe university recruited a group of 17 volunteers who agreed to be infected with dangerous worms. So scientists plan to monitor the course of the disease and, possibly, find new even more effective and safe ways to treat it. The body of each volunteer will become an incubator for 20 larvae of worms for the entire duration of the experiment, which will last 12 weeks. Subjects are allowed to live at home and lead their usual lifestyles, but they are required to return to the laboratory every 7 days for a full examination.
Of course, everything is not as scary as it canseem from the very beginning. The participants in the experiment will be infected exclusively by male worms, which will exclude the reproduction of parasites in the host organism. Indeed, it is the rapid multiplication of parasites that make schistosomiasis such a severe and intractable disease. However, even with minimizing the risks, not all scientists are sure that at the end of the study, the experimental subjects will be able to cure the disease and kill all parasites in their bodies. For the fact that the subjects expose their health to danger, each of them will receive 1000 euros of compensation. A mere trifle, if you think about the possible consequences.