I am strongly considering volunteering for any COVID human challenge trial that becomes available near me (midwestern United States). I am willing to undergo long-term isolation. However, I am not willing to significantly disrupt my work life. That means I want free time with my computer, significant private time, and the opportunity to be physically active.

Can anyone give me an educated guess about whether, as a participant in such a trial, I would have access to things like free time, space to exercise, and a personal computer? I presume that the answer is "the range of situations is extremely wide, and the answer depends on a bunch of factors." However, I would appreciate any suggestive information. I would also appreciate advice in how best to phrase these questions to get good answers from prospective trial administrators.



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You would want to talk to the staff who are recruiting patients; I'm not aware of any such trials that have started anywhere yet. I would expect you would have access to most of those things depending on what your definitions are of private time and physical activity.

As far as asking questions, just be direct and define your terms. "Can I bring my computer and have internet access" might not be specific enough if your question is really "Can I work an uninterrupted full-time schedule from 8 am to 5 pm using my computer?" - the answer to that is likely no, but you might get an idea of what interruptions you can expect, how often, etc, and also how flexible those interruptions can be.

An example facility that is capable of appropriate isolation and has been used in influenza challenge trials is at NIH; their tour video at the page linked below might be a good place to start for some of your questions.


I think the whole video is probably useful to someone considering participating in a trial, but I'd note that around 12 minutes they are touring a patient room and shortly after there is some discussion of what the patients participating in clinical trials there can bring in, which includes bringing in computers for entertainment and work.

Again, I wouldn't use this video as a guarantee of anything for a specific trial you might be involved in, so ask your specific questions to those trial staff.

If you do participate, you of course may develop symptoms that interfere with all the things you mentioned.

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