Scientists at the Kenya Medical Research Institute (Kemri) are offering up to Sh48,000 to volunteers who agree to be infected with malaria. And this comes even as another study warned of moral and ethical issues around infecting healthy people with a potentially harmful organism for money.
This time, researchers are investigating how some people manage to resist malaria; knowledge that can be used to create new vaccines and drugs against the disease.
To do so, the researchers are screening 2,000 volunteers to pick 200 suitable candidates to be injected with the malaria parasite. Successful volunteers are then injected with the malaria parasite and monitored as inpatients for 24 days. For every overnight stay each participant is paid Sh2,000 with a possible maximum 24 nights - totaling Sh48,000. Currently the study, which started in 2016 is ongoing in Kilifi where some 105 volunteers have already gone through the process. Other scheduled study areas are Ahero in Western region and Nairobi for Central Kenya.
The four-year study to 2020 is being carried out by the Kemri Wellcome Trust Research Programme, Kilifi; Oxford University, UK; University of Cambridge, UK; Pwani University and Sonaria Inc., a US biotechnology company. But last year, a second team of social scientists from the same institutions including the World Health Organisation revisited the Kilifi volunteers. They went to investigate the moral and ethical issues around infecting healthy individuals with a potentially harmful organism in exchange for money.