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Man Voluntarily Drank Smoothie Which Gave Him Life-Threatening Diarrhoea For The Sake Of Science

Man Voluntarily Drank Smoothie Which Gave Him Life-Threatening Diarrhoea For The Sake Of Science

A man who drank a diarrhea inducing smoothie during a vaccine trial says he'd do it all over again.

26-year-old Jake Eberts voluntarily drank a shot glass filled with a smoothie filled with bacteria that he knew could give him a life-threatening case of diarrhoea.

He did all of this to further the cause of science and medical development in the attempts to cure a disease which kills hundreds of thousands of people every year and for which there is no vaccine.

According to Insider, Eberts was participating in an 11 day vaccine trial at the University of Maryland where 16 healthy adults were given the bacteria laced smoothie with the full knowledge that it was almost certainly going to give them a horrendous experience.

What followed is what the man described as 'the worst eight hours of my life' but it was an experience he said he would ultimately go through again if it helps get researchers closer to a treatment.

Of course, beyond the pursuit of scientific advancement there is also the incentive of money as Eberts and other participants in the 11 day trial were paid $7,000 for taking part in the study.

He told Insider: "I don't want to make myself out to be Mother Teresa here - would not have done this for free. It's a big ask to ask someone to get dysentery.

"The entire time, I was like, 'Wow, this is an awful disease'. And I just got really emotional, probably also because I was just delirious, about the thought of small children in the developing world dealing with this."

The reason why the medical trials are so important is because of the very contagious bacteria shigella, which is the second leading cause of deaths by diarrhoea worldwide and there is no vaccine against it.

People contract the disease by consuming the bacteria, often through contaminated water or eating food which has been prepared unhygienically.

Scientists have been trying to develop a vaccine against shigella for years and this test was an attempt to see how effective one in development might be.

Unfortunately for Eberts, he thinks he was part of the control group which received a placebo jab since he didn't have a noticeable reaction to his jabs and was one of the worst affected patients on the trial.

He noted that it was 'really bad news for the vaccine' if he was injected with the real thing as his illness developed around 40 hours after drinking the bacterial smoothie and quickly progressed into a fever and diarrhea, his condition was at one point described as being at 'death's door'.

While participating in the study, Eberts has been able to raise more than $24,750 for The Water Project, an initiative to provide clean water to sub-Saharan Africa.

Featured Image Credit: Twitter

Topics: Health