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Gates Foundation Funds "Altruistic Vaccine"

samzenpus posted more than 4 years ago | from the needles-with-a-heart dept.

Medicine 259

QuantumG writes "The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has awarded a $100,000 grant to the University of Queensland, Australia to develop a vaccine against dengue fever, a disease spread by mosquitoes. Unlike other vaccines, the 'altruistic vaccine' doesn't specifically protect the individual being bitten, but instead protects the community by stopping the transmission of the pathogen from one susceptible individual to another. The hope is to do this by effectively making their blood poisonous to mosquitoes, either killing them or at least preventing them from feeding on other individuals. Professor Paul Young explained how his work fell outside current scientific traditions and might lead to significant advances in global health — he said he could envision the vaccine being used around the world within 10 years, and it would be designed to be cheap and easy to implement."

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259 comments

A vaccine? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27948417)

Is this a vaccine that prevent you from getting infected with that anti-captialist altruistism?

Is this yet another attempt for Microsoft to destroy the Free Software movement?

The Giving Plague (4, Interesting)

Kaseijin (766041) | more than 4 years ago | (#27948581)

Is this a vaccine that prevent you from getting infected with that anti-captialist altruistism?

Hey, altruism is serious business [davidbrin.com].

Re:The Giving Plague (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 4 years ago | (#27948923)

For those who find Brin's writing style tiresome to wade through: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Giving_Plague [wikipedia.org]

On another note... my first thought about Bill + "Altruistic Vaccine" was the same as the GP's --- that he's probably attempting to vaccinate against altruism. At least on some subconscious level. On a conscious level, he probably just thought, "Well, if I can't DRM software yet, I'll DRM people."

Re:A vaccine? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27948927)

Nope

It's more like that wrath vaccine from StarGate Attlantis.

If memory serves that one was refined so that it killed "only" 1/3 of those inoculated, made another 1/3 seriusly ill and killed any wrath who fed on them.

Re:A vaccine? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27949097)

I read it the same way because of the unnecessary and stupid quotes around "altruistic vaccine"

Re:A vaccine? (1)

DrgnDancer (137700) | more than 4 years ago | (#27949613)

If you read, even the summary, much less the article you'll see that the quotes have nothing to do with the fact Gates is involved The "altruistic vaccine" works in a fundamentally different way than a "normal vaccine" and the quote are being used to highlight the difference. It's a perfectly acceptable grammatical structure.

This is what started... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27948425)

.. the first zombie hoarde.

Re:This is what started... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27948831)

A zombie hoard?

Is that like a really big pile of mushy brains or something?

Re:This is what started... (1)

SoVeryTired (967875) | more than 4 years ago | (#27949215)

The hope is to do this by effectively making their blood poisonous to mosquitoes, either killing them or at least preventing them from feeding on other individuals.

Sounds like this is a vaccine *against* a zombie horde.

Is that really enough? (5, Insightful)

jasonmanley (921037) | more than 4 years ago | (#27948427)

I don't want to sound ungrateful or anything but is $100K really all that much considering how expensive it must be to do this kind of research?

Re:Is that really enough? (3, Informative)

unlametheweak (1102159) | more than 4 years ago | (#27948481)

I don't want to sound ungrateful or anything but is $100K really all that much considering how expensive it must be to do this kind of research?

I could presume it is enough money to pay for the salary of the one researcher that was awarded this grant. It's not a lot of money, but Microsoft has spread their grants to other researchers working on other projects as well.

Re:Is that really enough? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27948667)

Bill Gates != Microsoft

Re:Is that really enough? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27948487)

I don't want to sound ungrateful or anything but is $100K really all that much considering how expensive it must be to do this kind of research?

If you have a problem with that, buy Microsoft products.

- This message has been sponsored by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation -

Re:Is that really enough? (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#27948491)

This message has been sponsored by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

There goes another five bucks.

Re:Is that really enough? (2, Insightful)

Elvis77 (633162) | more than 4 years ago | (#27948607)

It's not much money really but the media attention that it's going to bring (not too mention the slashdot effect) will bring in a heap of money. "If Bill's funding it it must be good" (Like Vista????)

Re:Is that really enough? (4, Interesting)

KibibyteBrain (1455987) | more than 4 years ago | (#27948661)

The Gates foundation tends to give results-driven grants, so they will probably get more if they come up with something promising.

Re:Is that really enough? (1)

tiggertaebo (1480739) | more than 4 years ago | (#27948679)

it might not be "enough" to fully fund the work they are doing but it is certainly a substantial chunk of cash and if the work shows promise they might continue to fund it? Also it will raise the profile of the work which might lead to further donations from other parties.

Re:Is that really enough? (2, Interesting)

maccallr (240314) | more than 4 years ago | (#27948729)

You have the money for a year (so $100k is quite a lot) and then, IIRC, if you can prove that your big idea has worked, there is more money to follow.

Re:Is that really enough? (1)

jw3 (99683) | more than 4 years ago | (#27948731)

The BMG is giving out trucks of money to people investigating diseases. If this project got 100k, then most likely it is not worth more.

j.

Re:Is that really enough? (1, Insightful)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 4 years ago | (#27948869)

$100K intelligently spent can produce a lot more results than $100M distributed by a public committee.

Re:Is that really enough? (0, Flamebait)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 4 years ago | (#27949057)

In another time and place, egotistical bastards forced slaves to build huge pyramidal structures, for the purpose of immortalizing the egotistacal bastard's name.

In this time and place, egotistical bastards steal billions, then spread around a few thousand here and there, with the purpose of immortalizing the egotistical bastard's name.

We really haven't progressed much, have we? Gates is as worried about some malaria like fever as I am worried about the sun going nova. The money's purpose is NOT to cure dengue fever. The money's purpose IS to make a bunch of gullible chumps say "Oh, isn't Bill WONDERFUL?!?!"

Re:Is that really enough? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27949357)

I don't think the people suffering from dengue fever are going to care where the money comes frome, and unless Gates somehow stole some of your money, neither should you.

Re:Is that really enough? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27949217)

$640K should be enough for anybody.

And 20 years from now... (4, Funny)

Solarhands (1279802) | more than 4 years ago | (#27948489)

We will have new, super mosquitoes, who's bite is deadly to humans.

Re:And 20 years from now... (4, Insightful)

eugene2k (1213062) | more than 4 years ago | (#27948595)

On a more serious note, though. Some time from now, if this vaccine is developed and becomes widespread, the mosquitos will adapt to the poison in it (this is what evolution is all about), and we'll have mosquitos that are resistant to the poison.

Of course it is also possible that evolution will take another path and mosquitos stop feeding on humans and switch to animals, but not any more possible than the prospect of mosquitos becoming vegetarians.

Re:And 20 years from now... (5, Interesting)

Carewolf (581105) | more than 4 years ago | (#27948737)

I don't know, mosquitos has many other food sources than humans. Resistance to humans might not be important enough to give potentially immune mosquitos an evolutionary advantage.

Re:And 20 years from now... (4, Interesting)

eugene2k (1213062) | more than 4 years ago | (#27948815)

Problem is, for mosquitos to stop feeding off humans would mean developing some sort of mechanism to differentiate between a human and an animal. So far they don't. So the more probable evolutionary path would be for mosquitos to feed and die until only the ones that survive after feeding off humans are left.

Re:And 20 years from now... (1)

fabs64 (657132) | more than 4 years ago | (#27949005)

Considering the rate at which mosquitoes breed and die anyway I'm with the gp in that it wouldn't be a big enough advantage for natural selection to win out.

Re:And 20 years from now... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27949557)

Problem is, for mosquitos to stop feeding off humans would mean developing some sort of mechanism to differentiate between a human and an animal. So far they don't. So the more probable evolutionary path would be for mosquitos to feed and die until only the ones that survive after feeding off humans are left.

Some sort of mechanism... like smell [thaibugs.com]?

Re:And 20 years from now... (1)

mokus000 (1491841) | more than 4 years ago | (#27949361)

Whether they develop a resistance or not, if enough mosquitos that bite infected humans die in the short term, it seems that could have at least the potential to cause extinction of the dengue fever virus. If the chance of spreading the virus is low enough for long enough, it just might work.

If the timeframe is short enough, or if the vaccine's usage is modulated on a decade-scale frequency to keep the virus population down but let the mosquito population "forget", perhaps the mosquito-immunity scenario could also be avoided (if it's a serious risk in the first place).

Does the virus have any non-human carriers? Can we mosquito-poison the other hosts' blood too?

oblig. disclaimer: IANA practitioner of whatever discipline this falls under.

Re:And 20 years from now... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27949605)

You people need to revisit your high school biology...female mosquito's do not use blood for sustenance, they use it for its plasma content which is used for the laying of their eggs.

Male and female mosquito's 'feed' on plant nectar and other plant secretions.

Re:And 20 years from now... (2, Insightful)

oneirophrenos (1500619) | more than 4 years ago | (#27948899)

On a more serious note, though. Some time from now, if this vaccine is developed and becomes widespread, the mosquitos will adapt to the poison in it (this is what evolution is all about), and we'll have mosquitos that are resistant to the poison.

This is probably true, as it is with antibiotics and bacteria. But just like we can't stop prescribing antibiotics for certain infections, we can't just not explore the possibilities of this vaccine.

Re:And 20 years from now... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27948755)

We have to take off and nuke the mosquitoes from orbit. It is the only way to be sure.

Why a 100K would be needed from Bill to fund this? (5, Insightful)

IAR80 (598046) | more than 4 years ago | (#27948499)

"When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a Communist." Hélder CÃmara

Re:Why a 100K would be needed from Bill to fund th (5, Informative)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 4 years ago | (#27948875)

"I am for doing good to the poor, but I differ in opinion of the means. I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. In my youth I traveled much, and I observed in different countries, that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer."
-- Benjamin Franklin, On the Price of Corn and Management of the Poor, November 1766

Re:Why a 100K would be needed from Bill to fund th (1)

Ihlosi (895663) | more than 4 years ago | (#27949053)

"In my youth I traveled much, and I observed in different countries, ..."

A whole two of them.

Re:Why a 100K would be needed from Bill to fund th (1)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | more than 4 years ago | (#27949641)

England, Scotland, at least two states (then separate countries) ... I make that more than 2?

Re:Why a 100K would be needed from Bill to fund th (2, Funny)

inca34 (954872) | more than 4 years ago | (#27949653)

Yeah, cause those poor beautiful people in Sweden are... so... poor... because they lack the infinite bliss that is what, Baconnaise(TM)?

Actually, I'm pretty sure Benjamin was talking about "public provisions made for the poor" and not merely public provisions made for the commonwealth.

http://www.thedailyshow.com/video/index.jhtml?videoId=225113&title=the-stockholm-syndrome [thedailyshow.com]
http://www.thedailyshow.com/video/index.jhtml?videoId=225126&title=the-stockholm-syndrome-pt.-2 [thedailyshow.com]

Re:Why a 100K would be needed from Bill to fund th (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27949049)

"When I ask how to use Unicode, they call me an ignorant"

Re:Why a 100K would be needed from Bill to fund th (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27949055)

Yes, yes. Let's turn the all the niggers into infection vectors to kill those pesky mosquitoes and flies. Then when they all die of AIDS, we can take over a nice, clean continent.

Re:Why a 100K would be needed from Bill to fund th (1)

mokus000 (1491841) | more than 4 years ago | (#27949405)

If everyone that expects the government to make everyone do something good just did that good thing themselves, I wonder where we'd be.

(I'm serious. For some reason when I say stuff like this people seem to think I'm being sarcastic.)

Isn't this what governor huey did.. (2, Interesting)

3.5 stripes (578410) | more than 4 years ago | (#27948513)

in Distraction?

Made genetic modifications to the humans to make their blood poisonous to the mosquitoes..

Re:Isn't this what governor huey did.. (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#27948531)

in Distraction?

Made genetic modifications to the humans to make their blood poisonous to the mosquitoes..

Maybe Bill is really looking for a new angle on multi threaded software.

Re:Isn't this what governor huey did.. (3, Funny)

msimm (580077) | more than 4 years ago | (#27948943)

I'd rather they made my blood poisonous to lawyers.

Will this help? (4, Insightful)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 4 years ago | (#27948519)

Because if it won't help against infection it's little consolation that you won't spread the fever.

Of course - it's better than nothing, but even better would be to figure a way to take out diseases like Dengue Fever completely.

Many diseases are spread by mosquitoes and if you can take out them from the equation it may help against several diseases. Pheromones are one important factor when the mosquitoes are mating and if you can attract the males to a trap you can either kill them or replace them with genetically modified ones that are less able to spread diseases. The modification may range from sterile offspring to offspring that aren't able to work as a carrier or even offspring that are shunning humans as blood source.

Re:Will this help? (4, Informative)

IAR80 (598046) | more than 4 years ago | (#27948555)

Mosquitoes certainly have their role in the ecosystem and killing them will certainly have unforeseen consequences. More like in the Mao and sparrows story http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Sparrow_Campaign [wikipedia.org]

Re:Will this help? (3, Funny)

unlametheweak (1102159) | more than 4 years ago | (#27948601)

Mosquitoes certainly have their role in the ecosystem and killing them will certainly have unforeseen consequences. More like in the Mao and sparrows story http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Sparrow_Campaign [wikipedia.org]

And besides, Sparrows are too cute to kill.

Re:Will this help? (4, Insightful)

unlametheweak (1102159) | more than 4 years ago | (#27948663)

Mosquitoes certainly have their role in the ecosystem and killing them will certainly have unforeseen consequences. More like in the Mao and sparrows story http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Sparrow_Campaign [wikipedia.org] [wikipedia.org]

Humans are part of the ecosystem, and not allowing natural checks and balances to occur on the human population also has devastating effects on the environment. I'm not advocating culling humans however.

Re:Will this help? (1)

IAR80 (598046) | more than 4 years ago | (#27948863)

Me neither, but I am strongly advocating for the reduction of our impact on the environment. Otherwise we will cull ourselves by famine, due to destruction of fertile land, disease, caused by pollution lack of water supply and ultimately genocide. WAIT! We are already doing that! http://www.library.utoronto.ca/pcs/eps/rwanda/rwanda1.htm [utoronto.ca]

Re:Will this help? (1)

unlametheweak (1102159) | more than 4 years ago | (#27948909)

Without reading through your link (first), I thought it would be appropriate to note that War and human conflict in general is probably going to be a significant impact in reducing the human population over the next decades or centuries. Nuclear weapons and dirty bombs combined with disparate and varied terrorist groups would likely be the cause of the more widespread and dramatic lowering of the human population. Easy to manufacture biological agents would have a lesser impact. Censorship of the Internet (the vast storehouse and dissemination media of information) and the outlawing of strategic chemicals would likely only have a positive psychological effect on the masses. There are interesting times ahead. I am anticipating a more medieval world.

Re:Will this help? (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 4 years ago | (#27949109)

Pakistan. The religious zealots are only 60 miles or so from capturing nuclear warheads. There is a full blown war being fought in that country right now, and if the "freindly" government falls, it doesn't look real good for Israel, and western civilization. The apocalypse COULD BE only a year away.

Re:Will this help? (3, Interesting)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | more than 4 years ago | (#27949463)

oh bullshit.

I don't live in the USA, and I don't live in Israel. If they "got ahold" of some nukes, how many does Pakistan have? Last I read, about 60, and they aren't all on missiles, and the military people in PAK have enough sense to no let these lunkheads get access to the codes. So, they would have to use them as something put on a boat and floated into a harbour. Let's pretend that they do get some missiles with nukes, do you think they're going after Western Civ first? No. They'll go after Western Civ's proxy, India (IND). Let's further pretend that they get as many as 20 (roughly 1/3 of the stockpile) in usuable order on missiles, which AFAIK, is extremely unlikely even for PAK today.

So, they use some nukes on IND first. Bombay, New Dehli, a few other big cities disappear. Grossly wounded, there are still hundreds of millions of Angry Indians left, and they collectively march across the border and commence slaughter, with the approval and sanction of the UN. Game over. Did Western Civ end? No.

So, let's say they go for another Western Proxy, Israel. Let's say they dump all 20 on Israel, somehow (even though they don't have a delivery system). What happens? A devastated Israel responds with its own nukes and it has dozens more than PAK and PAK is reduced to a glowing parking lot. Game over. Did Western Civ end? No.

So, let's say they go for the gusto, and somehow get all twenty - fuck it - ALL SIXTY nukes into the USA and set them off. The USA military responds and with one submarine turns PAK into a glowing parking lot. Millions die, in the USA and PAK. But not in Europe or Japan, or Germany or France or Italy or Finland or Russia. Did Western Civ end? No.

So, kindly quit with the fear mongering bullshit.

The apocalypse is NOT a year away. There will be no apocalypse. There is way too much money to be made and too much power to grab for something as self-absorbed and self-indulgent as an apocalypse to occur.

The USA is bankrupt, and will have to retreat from unipolar status fairly soon. When that happens, it will become less of a target.

Re:Will this help? (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#27948571)

Because if it won't help against infection it's little consolation that you won't spread the fever.

In a population of 100 with one infected individual this approach is 1% worse than a treatment which cures the disease in all individuals.

On a personal note if I was infected but could prevent infecting my family that would be a big advantage for me.

Re:Will this help? (5, Informative)

MjDelves (811950) | more than 4 years ago | (#27948611)

Well actually yes this strategy is very sensible. I think you're not quite understanding the research. The vaccine doesn't stop you being bitten by mosquitoes, but would be designed to stop the virus infecting the mosquitoes. This breaks the cycle of infection and prevents many other people being infected. Yes that's little consolation for you, but in the long run, less people being infected does have a direct benefit for you.

Here's another idea for Bill (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27948523)

You could focus your research into viral structures by directly modifying disease vector's DNA. Instead of codes being contained within a chain you delegate it to a DNA Registry. This would effectively cripple these pernicious viruses with all kinds of stability issues.

Useless (4, Interesting)

matria (157464) | more than 4 years ago | (#27948529)

This won't do much good unless all warm-blooded suppliers of the mosquitoes are so treated. A handful of humans killing/disabling a few thousand mosquitoes every year won't put a dent in the total population. This kind of thing tends to have unfortunate side effects as well. A similar treatment for dogs and cats to kill fleas has been around for years, and I don't see any reduction in the flea population. I have had a couple of really sick animals as a result of the treatment before I gave it up, though.

Re:Useless (3, Insightful)

flonker (526111) | more than 4 years ago | (#27948579)

If every human with dengue fever is so treated, the mosquitoes will not have a chance to spread the fever any further if they do bite you. I don't understand the disease, and the article itself was light on detail, but if the disease spreads from ...mosquito->human->mosquito->human..., you would be removing the human->mosquito leg of the cycle.

Re:Useless (3, Interesting)

moj0e (812361) | more than 4 years ago | (#27949527)

Actually, mosquito control isn't useless. I grew up in Brazil where there was a dengue outbreak in the 80's. They worked hard at making sure the mosquito didn't have an environment to grow and until this year, I hadn't heard of any dengue outbreaks. My concern with this method is that people who are infected by dengue might be transmitting the disease (through the mosquito) before they even realize that they are sick. If this is the case, the infection cycle wouldn't be completely broken. Unfortunately, this year we did have an outbreak and I got Dengue :/ (very painful). I was actually back in the US before I realized that I had dengue. Anyway, those are my 3 cents (please account for inflation)

Problem (2, Interesting)

masterfpt (1435165) | more than 4 years ago | (#27948563)

I believe that for this to work, a very, very high % of the population would have to be inoculated.

I hope we are not risking creating a "strand" of mosquitoes that can "smell" the poisonous blood from a human and prefer to feed on the next one that is safe.

Re:Problem (5, Informative)

Your.Master (1088569) | more than 4 years ago | (#27948701)

You can eliminate it if you hit the herd immunity threshold: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herd_immunity [wikipedia.org]

That requirement is essentially the same as for regular vaccines.

As for risking mosquitoes evolving to smell the poisonous blood -- isn't that a best-case scenario? Where the immunity to spreading the disease is converted to an immunity to getting the disease because the vectors avoid the innoculated.

The worst-case scenario basically leaves us back at square one with no loss and only a temporary gain.

Re:Problem (1)

masterfpt (1435165) | more than 4 years ago | (#27948865)

You are totally right.

The worst-case scenario would be for the mosquitoes to quickly develop immunity over the "poisonous" blood.

Re:Problem (1)

perryizgr8 (1370173) | more than 4 years ago | (#27949077)

i think only people who are infected will need to be vaccinated for this to work. and thet won't be difficult at all. here dengue is a big concern but still there are only about 5 cases annually.

The stupidest thing ever (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27948597)

No surprise to find out Mr. Gates has something to do with it.

Can please have the one that does protect? (1, Informative)

syousef (465911) | more than 4 years ago | (#27948645)

I don't know about you, but if you're going to vaccinate me, it sure would be nice if I was protected too. It might even provide an incentive for the not so altruistic.

Re:Can please have the one that does protect? (1)

maccallr (240314) | more than 4 years ago | (#27948753)

Add to that the widespread distrust of Western medicine in many parts of the world and you'll have big problems getting the take-up you need.

In Australia, however, it might work (there have been some dengue outbreaks there).

Re:Can please have the one that does protect? (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#27949265)

Well, what if that vaccine is 50 times harder to develop, or is less effective?

I don't see where the poison blood stuff is even coming from, the summary writer is reading the article differently than I am or maybe the link was switched out. It isn't a terrible inference to make from the posted article, but there are lots of other things that could be done (and it sounds pretty far out on the edge of vaccine research, not like something that is being 'developed for use').

Wasn't there a Stargate episode like this? (2, Interesting)

michaelmanus (1529735) | more than 4 years ago | (#27948677)

Oh yeah - Poisoning the Well [wikipedia.org].
An enzyme is developed to make the wraith (blood sucking aliens) get sick and die when feeding off humans injected.
I know this makes me the worst kind of nerd for knowing this offhand...

Re:Wasn't there a Stargate episode like this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27948751)

Nah, you're not alone .-p

Re:Wasn't there a Stargate episode like this? (1)

Ginger Unicorn (952287) | more than 4 years ago | (#27949371)

I own a comic book/gaming store and spend all day serving nerds of one stripe or another, and trust me, neither you or I are the worst kind of nerd...

Antitrust Vaccine? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27948703)

Oh, I misread that.

Re:Antitrust Vaccine? MODDY UPWARDS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27949245)

OLOLOLOLOLOL!!!1 :DDD

I hope it can be mixed in food (3, Interesting)

iamacat (583406) | more than 4 years ago | (#27948749)

Typically there are many more animal than human hosts, since the former usually do not go to hospitals or use cloth/house/DEET to protect themselves from mosquitos. So your altruism will likely protect a chimp or an antelope rather than another human. But mass vaccination of wildlife through baits dispersed from planes can really make a difference.

Repercussions? (2, Interesting)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 4 years ago | (#27948775)

I'd be terrified of the possible repercussions from this. In the more immediate, what does this do to your liver? Longer term, what impact might this have on other insect populations? And will this impact negatively effect human populations?

This approach is dangerous.

Re:Repercussions? (2, Insightful)

meuhlavache (1101089) | more than 4 years ago | (#27948835)

I'm agree... Kill insects, without any knowledge of what it's involve, to protect us agains't a disease is really dangerous... 'hope they'll think twice about that.

Re:Repercussions? (3, Informative)

Thiez (1281866) | more than 4 years ago | (#27949459)

> In the more immediate, what does this do to your liver?

Well I guess that is what the research is for, right?

> Longer term, what impact might this have on other insect populations?

Well, since mosquitos can also feed on animals, most of them will never come in contact with the poison. I don't know how this will affect their natural predators (eating multiple poisoned mosquitos might have a negative effect on them, depending on the poison), but I assume they will investigate that too before they start handing out the stuff to everyone everywhere.

> And will this impact negatively effect human populations?

Well I guess that is what the research is for, right?

> This approach is dangerous.

Maybe. If we don't research we'll never find out. The whole thing would be dangerous if we were to give this stuff to everybody before having some idea to what the answers to your questions might be. But since thas hasn't been the way to do these things in science for some decades now, your whole post seems somewhat overrated, this last bit in particular.

Way to go Slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27948781)

Gates Foundation budget: US$800M
This story: US$100K
------------------------
There's another 8000 possible headline stories!

(more seriously, US$100K is objectively a drop in an ocean. In medical science, if you stretch it, you can probably fund ONE grad student for 2 years with it.)

More on "altruistic vaccination" (3, Informative)

Eukariote (881204) | more than 4 years ago | (#27948861)

Watch the following video to learn more about the "altruistic vaccination" that the Gates Foundation is engaged in: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d7_xfUV4kSo [youtube.com]

Re:More on "altruistic vaccination" (2, Informative)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#27949787)

Since a lot of people think the whole mercury and autism thing was invented out of whole cloth because their government told them so, you might also talk about how in order to receive any vaccinations from the Gates foundation you have to provide patent protection to pharmaceutical companies. No IP law? No vaccinations. This would not be true if they were genuinely trying to stamp out certain diseases; you can't stamp them out as long as you leave ground unstomped.

Lets call this (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27948911)

Service Pack 2.

maybe not so dangerous as it seems (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27948973)

I think this idea is as dangerous as it seems. Killing or disabling the mosquitoes to pass on dengue fever is not an act meant to kill the population of mosquitoes but rather to kill or disable the ones who has the disease.

However with any vaccine comes there is danger of evolving the disease, hurting the one getting the vaccine, and this case we have the added risk of hurting the mosquito population.

what? no? (1)

nimbius (983462) | more than 4 years ago | (#27949455)

iamlegend tags??? no T-Virus tags?!?! am i on slashdot or has the zombie uprising already begun?

I wonder if that will harm humanity more (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 4 years ago | (#27949695)

then Dengue does. The reason that I say that, is that I now suspect that there are MANY other virus that are transmitted with that bite. I am guessing that these are helping to transform us slowly across time. IOW, the virus that we have not detected at those that do not bring a symptom with them. We probably pick up new snip-its not just from other humans, but from other animals. What Gate's Foundation is looking to do, is wipe out the mosquitoes that bite humans. Any that learn to not bite humans, will instead survive. This may slow the evolution of man while other species continue.

Mosquito proof houses (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27949727)

Some belive in mosquito proof houses. http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/paul_ewald_asks_can_we_domesticate_germs.html

Messing with Nature (1)

whisper_jeff (680366) | more than 4 years ago | (#27949793)

I dislike it when humans mess with nature like this. It's pretty simple and I'm surprised that people who are smarter than I am can't see it - you make your blood poisonous to mosquitoes => mosquitoes get poisoned => mosquito gets eaten by predator before it dies => predator gets poisoned => evolution takes over. Do we know how the mosquitoes will evolve in order to adapt to the poison? No. Do we know how mosquito predators will evolve to adapt to the poison? No. Do we know the impact on the environment as predators/prey habits change? No. Do we know how this very simple little poison will impact nature, on a much larger scale? No.

And, if anyone thinks that such a small thing cannot possibly have a drastic effect on nature, I recommend you look up the impact that the simple introduction of rabbits to Australia had on the entire continent. 24 rabbits and a continent has been devastated, to put it mildly. ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rabbits_in_Australia [wikipedia.org] )

If we can't see the long term impact that something is going to have on nature, we should stop fucking with it. To me, this is such a horribly bad idea...
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