The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) is seeking healthy human "ferrets" to vaccinate and then infect with various forms of Influenza A, followed by antiviral treatment. Basically they are trying to understand the things that puzzle them in regard to highly pathogenic avian influenza in humans.
There are some very unusual aspects of the recent bout of human H7N9 Avian Influenza, most of which we suspect are immunological and public pandemic response related (more on this in a future post). These unusual aspects of H7N9 infections can be seen in the conflicting nature of H7N9 transmission studies vs empirical epidemiological reports. The issue can also been seen in H7N9 case clusters where some of the cluster infected individuals have full blown H7N9 symptoms including ARDS, but have no titers for H7N9 (as well as negative testing milder cases).
Our take on the these issues is that most of these studies are not in conflict, in reality they are in violent agreement with each other; but they are not recognized as such because of poor Design Of Experiments, and poor or non-existent Decision Analysis.
That said, we do suspect there maybe and should be some serious concerns about the unintended pandemic outcomes of using current vaccine technology to trigger immune responses to viruses which Darwin has chosen the human body not to easily titer to. such as H7N9.
We don't know how much NIAID is going to pay these volunteers or what kind of cages they are going to keep these people in, we just know we don't want to be volunteered for it. But, those of you interested can read much more in the government CRAD contract associated with it, see
Solicitation Number: NIAID-TTIPO-2012-002
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