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How to join a human infection study

Over the last 70 years, more than 22,000 people have helped research into disease and vaccine development by taking part in volunteer infection studies.

If you are interested in volunteering to take part in an infection study in the UK, you can find out more information and search for open studies open on The UK Clinical Trials Gateway. When using the search, just select the 'healthy' option under health condition. You can also find results from past studies that have closed and researchers have analysed the results.

If you are looking for studies in other countries, the website lets you search internationally - to find studies for healthy volunteers, just tick the box found in the eligibility criteria section. 

As a volunteer, you may receive money for taking part in a study. This would be to cover your expenses, loss of earnings or your time. The amount will reflect the amount of time the study takes up and the inconvenience it causes.

Each study is different and you'll find more information by reading the online summary of the study, then talking to the study nurses if you want to pursue the option of joining. You'll be given plenty of information about what to expect, and are free to change your mind at any point. 

Here are some questions you might like to think about:

Am I eligible to take part? Most studies have strict criteria listed under volunteer information. These criteria are set to make sure that no one is put at undue risk, and so the research has the best chance of succeeding. 

Where is the study open? Some studies are open in several places, others only in one location.This may affect how easy it is for you to travel there. 

How long is the study and what does taking part involve? Studies vary in duration and how much time they take up. Some studies will require people to stay in medical facilities during the infection.

What are the down-sides to taking part? Different infections will cause different symptoms, some more uncomfortable than others. Make sure you know what to expect, and are still happy to participate. Remember, you can change your mind at any time.