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Jacob Hopkins, 24, tried hard not to get COVID-19 in the months leading up to March 2021, when, if he succeeded, he could be part of a unique experiment in which he was deliberately infected with the virus.

Almost a year earlier, he had put his name on a list of volunteers. Months went by until, on Dec. 23, he finally heard back from someone associated with the experiment. He ended up being the very first volunteer given the infection — patient 1.

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