I had worked in clinical research for 4.5 years when I heard about FluCamp on a local radio station, thinking it was a great way of earning money and learning about the other side of clinical research that I don’t usually see in my role, I applied on their website, not thinking I would hear anything back. However, within a day, I was contacted and after a short telephone consultation where I was asked a number of questions about my medical history, I was invited to visit for my first blood test which was to see if I had already been exposed to any strains of the flu virus that they were researching. This was quick and painless, at a local facility to me and I was paid for the privilege. From the start all of the staff were friendly and very professional.
I soon heard my blood test results were suitable, but at this point I really didn’t expect to get any further. I was invited to a further screening appointment in London and spent half a day, having bloods, breathing tests, ECG’s and various other tests. At this stage If I hadn’t have gone any further at least I’d had an in depth health check for free, in fact I was paid for it.
I had mixed responses from friends and colleagues about going any further with the trial, but decided to go with an open mind, and make my own decision whilst reading all the literature FluCamp provide you and the safety net that you could drop out at any time.
A little while later, I received a phone call inviting me into quarantine, I couldn’t quite believe I had gotten so far. I really hadn’t expected to go any further in the process.
We were told that we would be kept in for a few days whilst tests were performed and to see if we developed any natural colds/flu symptoms, so at this point it was hard to get too comfortable as I wasn’t sure if I was going home.
I stayed in an en-suite room which was clean and comfortable with everything I needed; if you get there early, which I did, you are lucky enough to get a window, giving you a tiny view of London. They provided you with a TV, PS3 and free Wi-Fi which was great as it meant you can take in anything you wanted to use, such as a laptop. You could also borrow films too so there was plenty to keep you occupied.
My stay was on an all-inclusive basis, a bit like a holiday, but without the alcoholic drinks; three meals a day, with snacks in between, so much so I had a cupboard over flowing with left overs. They really did look after you and made sure you didn’t go hungry, often popping round with the snack trolley throughout the day. And if you ever wanted anything, you could always ask and they would bring it to you. Unfortunately for the first few days you were not allowed hot drinks, which I did miss, but you soon get used to it.
So did I get the flu? To be honest and I’m a bit of a wimp when it comes to being ill, the symptoms I experienced were no worse than a cold, blocked up, sore throat and sneezing, I could cope with it, we were being fed, allowed to sleep and could relax, it’s not like you had to deal with it whilst working or going about your day to day lives, and along with that the staff really made you feel at home if that was possible.
My overall feelings of the experience were good, so much so I did it a second time round. I felt safe throughout my time at the facility and during the screening process. The staff were knowledgeable, friendly and did everything they could to make your stay as comfortable as possible. I cannot praise the staff enough, from those at the initial consultation, the telephone operators, nurses and doctors at screening and during quarantine, the clinic staff and PI’s.
I’ve been asked lots of times, was I lonely or bored, and I can honestly say I wasn’t, maybe I’m good with my own company, but I spent lots of time catching up on my sleep, in between reading, studying and box sets via Netflix! I actually enjoyed the time away. So I would highly recommend this experience to anyone and my recommendation is to read through all the literature, find out as much as you can and if you feel comfortable then go for it.