Vaev, a startup based in Los Angeles, is a wellness brand that has recently made headlines with its unique product. It is selling sneeze-filled tissues at $80 per unit with the claim that these tissues can help you build immunity to cold viruses. Disgusted? Well, you’d be surprised to know that the company claims that it has sold about a thousand tissues already. The tissues have been sold to people who would rather get sick now than catch a cold later.
The founder of Vaev, Oliver Niessen is 34 years old and says that these not cheap tissues must be looked at as an alternative to traditional medicine. The comparison stands because these tissues will enable people to get sick on their own terms, thus reducing the risk of catching a cold on a later date. Niessen said, ‘The simple idea is you choose now to get sick, with the idea in mind that you won’t get sick with that same cold … later. That kind of freedom, that kind of luxury to choose—I mean, we customize everything in our lives, and we have everything the way that we want it, so why not approach sickness that way as well?’
As an example, the Vaev founder says; let’s suppose you are preparing for a vacation and wish to reduce the risk of getting a cold. You can use the sneeze-contaminated Vaev tissue and get sick before leaving on vacation. This way, you will be able to enjoy your vacation before getting sick. This sounds plausible in theory, in reality; not so much!
According to experts, the Vaev tissues can help you immunize yourself against the strain of cold that you voluntarily expose yourself to. However, this immunity only lasts for a short period of time and doesn’t help protect you against various other strains of cold viruses that you might catch.
Charles Gerba, a professor of microbiology and environmental sciences at the University of Arizona, said, ‘There are more than 200 types of rhinoviruses, so you’re going to have to shove about 200 tissues up your nose each time to get a different one. Getting inoculated from one doesn’t protect you against all the others, that’s why we’ve never had a vaccine for the common cold. How do you make a vaccine against 200 different viruses?’
The Vaev tissues are contaminated by the 10 go-to sneezers that the company has hired. Some of the sneezers were hired online. These employees sneeze into a batch of conventional tissues and send them to the company. The company then packages them in a sealed petri dish and mails them to the customers. The company stays in touch with these professional sneezers to make sure that they are sick and usually one of them is. Otherwise, the production might come to a halt. Niessen says that maintaining a larger pool of sneezers is not possible for the startup so currently the number ten is good enough.
Many people believe the company Vaev to be fake. However, Niessen says that he got the idea in 2015 and to hear that his company is a hoax is quite frustrating. As of right now, the Vaev tissues are out of stock. But Niessen says that the sale will resume soon enough. He said, ‘I think that products are worth what people are willing to pay for them. It’s a premium product, and it’s not something you can get from anyone anywhere else.’
What do you think of this bizarre product?