Comms director @ 1Day Sooner
Working (0-5 years experience)
240Washington, DC, USAJoined Sep 2022


My name is Jake. I live in DC. I used to work in foreign affairs, primarily Chinawatching, and then  as an investigative researcher (think due diligence, political mudslinging, corporate accountability, etc.). Then, I got dysentery as part of a human challenge trial. I tweeted about it like a maniac, went viral, and now I'm here. Life is funny. 

Feel free to reach out via Twitter DM or LinkedIn, or email me at jake dot eberts @ 1daysooner dot org.


Topic Contributions

If you're not already aware of the University of Chicago's Scav, I'd highly recommend poaching some ideas from them if you ever need inspiration. (E.g., Item 10 from 2021: "A collection of baseball cards for members of the Los Angeles Biblically Accurate Angels baseball team" or Item 262, 2015, "a series of cartoons  [drawn] on at least 30 tissues such that when they are rapidly pulled out of a tissue box, they create an animation.")

It's great that you know the results. While relatively minor in the grand scheme of things, it's frustrating that trials, at least here in the US, don't often share results with participants, even though it's theoretically as simple as a mass email along the lines of "here's what we learned" — presumably an email they're already sending to colleagues, funders, etc., in some  form. I had to ask the people running the Shigella trial for my data (not available yet, but I really wanna see if I got the placebo or not)! 

Hi! These are all valid concerns, and I'll note that many of them are covered in the study eligibility criteria (see NCT05123222). People are excluded if there is any "[e]vidence of clinically significant neurologic, cardiac, pulmonary, hepatic, rheumatologic, autoimmune, or renal disease", among many other factors. 

The approx. 2.0 per 10,000 Guillain-Barré incidence estimate is based on the published scientific literature. The 2018 review (Romero, Delorey, Sjevar & Johansson 2018) covers outbreaks or sub-outbreaks in 11 places. Like I stated above, I was unable to find comprehensive estimates for other neurological conditions, which occur with lower frequency. If you have more recent estimates, I'd be happy to update. 

Whether or not someone participates is, of course, up to them. I was able to get work done during my inpatient Shigellosis stay and enjoyed the experience, to the extent you can "enjoy" getting awful diarrhea. I don't think this is very much a waste of human capital for everyone — plenty of people may have downtime they're willing to donate to a cause. For Zika, the productivity loss is probably relatively minor (if you can work remotely) for reasons outlined in the post. I do not agree that it would be a "very bad use" of EA human capital, which I think is a pretty high bar.

Participation in any medical study involving exposure to a pathogen necessarily entails risk and no one should ever feel pressured to participate in any study, especially if they're worried about potential health consequences. I'll note that several trials are run even though there are no rescue treatments, e.g. Covid-19, in which 1Day Sooner has had several volunteers, and norovirus. It is often precisely because treatments are lackluster that these sort of trials are important. There have been no deaths in a human challenge trial to our knowledge since at least 1980 (Adams-Phipps et al. 2022,  based on research 1Day Sooner commissioned) (this, of course, is not predictive of what happens in a Zika challenge trial, but does underscore that these trials are generally designed with participant safety as the foremost priority).