malaria update d+9: I got this feeling...

Friday evening: two volunteers get a phone call...

Friday (day 7 after infection) None of the volunteers have any symptoms (yet), but two out of 27 volunteers infected with malaria had a positive blood smear: the researchers were able to see parasites using a microscope, an endpoint of the study.
These two volunteers are now taking their malaria pills and in two days...

How about me?

Saturday evening (day 8 after infection) I got a bit of a headache.. nothing special I guessed, but this morning:

Sunday (day 9 after infection) Woke up feeling a bit tired and still having a headache. If I didn't know better I would think that I had a hangover but there were some clues:

- I know that I am infected with malaria (big spoiler here)

- beer in the UK has hardly any alcohol in it (compared to Belgian beer)

So after having my morning blood sample taken and having some breakfast I went back to bed, like many other party people on a Sunday morning... 

Woke up feeling a bit flu·ish, quite weak, still tired with a headache and some heavy legs. This could still be mistaken for the results of a heavy night or just a bad case of the man flu.

During my afternoon clinic visit I learned that by now 8 out of 27 volunteers have had their malaria infection confirmed using a blood smear.

Since I am having some symptoms I was looking forward to my temperature...

The doctor's reaction was as expected:

At this very moment (Sunday, 8PM) my blood is being analyzed and it will probably be positive for malaria. In a couple of hours I'll also get the phone call and will have to come in to get my therapy. And that's that...

So, is this the disease I was expecting? 
Not completely. I do feel that something is happening, but I am surprised at how unspecific my symptoms are. If I was not aware that I am infected with malaria, I would still be at work now, tomorrow staying at home to recover from a self diagnosed flu... And then it would be already too late for an easy recovery. By the time I would go to a doctor and my blood would be analyzed my symptoms would be so severe that hospitalization is necessary.

I guess this trial is the perfect example of how clinical malaria challenges have evolved: we are able to infect people with a deadly but treatable disease, get significant results on a new vaccine candidate and prevent serious effects on the volunteers' health.

For now, I am going to "enjoy" my malaria a bit with some appropriate youtube clips like this one:

If you would be interested in joining a clinical malaria challenge you can always check these websites:

No comments:

Post a Comment

Total Pageviews