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Biotech Medicine Science

Stopping Malaria By Immunizing Mosquitoes 100

RedEaredSlider writes "Millions of people in the tropics suffer from malaria, a mosquito-borne disease that has been difficult to treat and which costs many developing countries millions of dollars per year in lost productivity. Up to now, efforts at controlling it have focused on attacking the parasites that cause it, keeping mosquitoes from biting, or killing the insects. But at Johns Hopkins University, Rhoel Dinglasan, an entomologist and biologist, decided to try another tack: immunizing mosquitoes. When a mosquito bites an infected human, it takes up some of the gametocytes. They aren't dangerous to people at that stage. Since plasmodium is vulnerable there, that is the point Dinglasan chose to attack. A mosquito's gut has certain receptor molecules in it that the plasmodium can bind to. Dinglasan asked what would happen if the parasite couldn't 'see' them, which would happen if another molecule, some antigen, were binding to those receptors."
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Stopping Malaria By Immunizing Mosquitoes

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  • by aapold ( 753705 ) on Friday October 29, 2010 @03:04PM (#34066168) Homepage Journal
    Malaria is not the only mosquito-bourne illness... Yellow Fever, Dengue, etc can also be transmitted via them. If you kill the mosquito, it can't transmit any of these, but if you get it to resist malaria, you've only stopped one... but still I do like the approach, seems better than some methods of the past... I grew up in the Panama Canal Zone, where malaria had previously devastated an earlier attempt at a canal by the French (DeLesseps). Mosquitos were controlled by basically spraying oil onto any standing water including ponds, lakes, pools, etc, which would klll the mosquito larvae (and many other things) in the water. Later while I was there as a kid, to keep the populations down, they would drive trucks through residential neighborhoods fogging them with DDT to kill mosquitos. Many kinds would race behind the sprayer trucks on bicycles to get a good dose of the stuff as it would keep mosquitos off of you the rest of the night...
  • by cindyann ( 1916572 ) on Friday October 29, 2010 @03:28PM (#34066498)

    There isn't enough money to give everyone a $2 mosquito net treated with an insecticide.

    Where will they get enough money to buy, distribute, and vaccinate everyone?

    What do you want to bet that after Big Pharma gets through, the vaccine will cost way more than a net.

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts." -- Bertrand Russell