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Stopping Malaria By Immunizing Mosquitoes

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the will-they-get-a-public-option dept.

Biotech 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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100 comments

good luck with that (4, Funny)

C0vardeAn0nim0 (232451) | more than 3 years ago | (#34065578)

they're gonna need, if they want to give malaria shots to all mosquitos all there.

talk about a steady hand and LOTS of pacience.

Re:good luck with that (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34065964)

Immunizing mosquitoes would be more "lots of patients"

Re:good luck with that (0, Redundant)

cindyann (1916572) | more than 3 years ago | (#34066392)

patience

English is tough stuff.

Re:good luck with that (1)

dwinks616 (1536791) | more than 3 years ago | (#34066474)

Both patience and patients are correct, whether the AC was using "lots of patients" as a word-play.

Re:good luck with that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34066542)

What's that? Hrmm.. something's going on.. wait.. OMG..

WWWHWHHHHOOOOOOOOOOOOOSSHHHHHH.

Re:good luck with that (1)

SleazyRidr (1563649) | more than 3 years ago | (#34066594)

Jokes are pretty hard too...

Re:good luck with that (1)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 3 years ago | (#34066756)

patience

English is tough stuff.

It's called a pun. It's one of those hard English words.

Socialized healthcare for Mosquitos!? (0, Troll)

N0Man74 (1620447) | more than 3 years ago | (#34066824)

The Republicans will never let this fly!

Re:good luck with that (4, Informative)

Bowling Moses (591924) | more than 3 years ago | (#34067230)

Injecting mosquitoes and not killing them is pretty challenging. I work in a mosquito lab and a few members have experiments where they inject adult mosquitoes. The volume you inject is less than one microliter, which means using a glass fiber made by heating and drawing out a glass pipette which itself takes some skill to do properly. So you take a mosquito which has been on a chill plate, which renders them immobile for a while but without permanent harm, and put them on a small tube that holds them via suction. Then you have the glass fiber hooked up to a syringe with your sample, and the fiber in a holder whose position can be finely adjusted with a couple knobs. Under a low power dissecting microscope you adjust the holder to put the fiber into the mosquito's meatiest part, the flight muscles under the wings right behind the head, and inject your sample. If your fiber is too big the wound will kill the "patient," if you inject in slightly the wrong place your sample often ends up in the digestive tract, and if you inject with too much you can explode the mosquito. People in the lab who are good at it have about a 90% success rate. I'm hoping to get to do this injection procedure soon for a set of experiments. Who would turn down the opportunity to turn the tables on the little bastards and inject them with something for a change?

Re:good luck with that (1, Redundant)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#34067348)

Not to belabor the obvious, but who said anything about injections?

Immunization does not require injections.
Can we stop now? Please?

Re:good luck with that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34067920)

The GP made a joke about it taking a steady hand to give mosquitoes malaria shots. Sure there are other ways to immunize people, but there wouldn't be much of a joke to it now would there?

Re:good luck with that (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 3 years ago | (#34072126)

Interesting read! Thanks!

This fiber, does it have a channel in it, or do you use surface tension to puncture the surface and let the substance "suck" in? If neither, how do you actually get the fluid in there?

Re:good luck with that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34073460)

The glass fiber is hollow. It's thin enough that you can use capillary action to pull up solutions but you need a syringe to expel the solution--the mosquito has some positive pressure. A syringe is used to to fill the glass fiber and to administer the desired volume.

Re:good luck with that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34067536)

Indeed.

And bites....
Like this guy [bit.ly] ....

Wow (2, Funny)

Lucas123 (935744) | more than 3 years ago | (#34065584)

Just imagine the size of the needles...

Re:Wow (1)

asifyoucare (302582) | more than 3 years ago | (#34069052)

Be careful.

There's nothing more dangerous than a wounded mosquito.

There will be resistance to this (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34065602)

Many mosquitoes believe immunizations cause autism.

Re:There will be resistance to this (1)

newdsfornerds (899401) | more than 3 years ago | (#34066406)

LOL++

Re:There will be resistance to this (1)

sureshot007 (1406703) | more than 3 years ago | (#34066526)

Autism? So that's why they fly into the window repeatedly...

Re:There will be resistance to this (1)

monkyyy (1901940) | more than 3 years ago | (#34067344)

90% of mosquitoes have been flying into windows repeatedly

Re:There will be resistance to this (1)

wastedlife (1319259) | more than 3 years ago | (#34067714)

That's an awfully high autism rate, must be due to the immunizations.

Re:There will be resistance to this (1)

eugene ts wong (231154) | more than 3 years ago | (#34070814)

Your post advocates a

(*) technical ( ) legislative ( ) market-based ( ) vigilante

approach to fighting malaria. Your idea will not work. Here is why it won't work. (One or more of the following may apply to your particular idea, and it may have other flaws which used to vary from country to country before a bad federal law was passed.)

( ) No one will be able to find the guy or collect the money
(*) It is defenseless against guys who squash good mosquitoes before they have a chance to reproduce
(*) It will stop mosquitoes for two weeks and then we'll be stuck with it
(*) Eaters of mosquitoes will not put up with it
( ) Microsoft will not put up with it
(*) The police will not put up with it
(*) Requires too much cooperation from environmentalists
( ) Requires immediate total cooperation from everybody at once
(*) Anyone could anonymously pretend to release good mosquitoes, but actually release infected mosquitoes

Specifically, your plan fails to account for

(*) Laws expressly prohibiting it
(*) Lack of centrally controlling authority for diseases and animals
(*) Stagnant water in foreign countries
(*) Asshats
(*) Jurisdictional problems
( ) Unpopularity of weird new taxes
(*) Public reluctance to accept weird new things
(*) Willingness of people to vaccinate mosquitoes
(*) Swarms of mosquitoes that refuse to be captured
(*) Evolution of malaria
(*) Extreme profitability of malaria
(*) Technically illiterate politicians
(*) Dishonesty on the part of mosquitoes themselves
( ) Outlook

and the following philosophical objections may also apply:

(*) Ideas similar to yours are easy to come up with, yet none have ever been shown practical
(*) Any scheme based on opt-out is unacceptable
( ) Blacklists suck
( ) Whitelists suck
( ) We should be able to talk about Viagra without being censored
(*) Countermeasures should not involve wire fraud or credit card fraud
(*) Countermeasures must work if phased in gradually
(*) Why should we have to trust you?
( ) Feel-good measures do nothing to solve the problem
( ) I don't want the government killing my mosquitoes
(*) Killing them that way is not slow and painful enough

Furthermore, this is what I think about you:

(*) Sorry dude, but I don't think it would work.
(*) This is a stupid idea, and you're a stupid person for suggesting it.
(*) Nice try, assh0le! I'm going to find out where you live and burn your house down! I have nothing against you. I'm just a bad person.

Furthermore, this is what I think about me:

(*) I didn't read the article
(*) I probably agree with you, but I wouldn't know, because I just copied and pasted this to make myself feel as if I have heard all the arguments before

That's What They Want You To Think: What If (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34065610)

smallpox is being spread by genetically modifying mosquitoes?

Yours In Novosibirsk,

K. Trout

What could possibly go wrong? (0)

santax (1541065) | more than 3 years ago | (#34065646)

I am sure malaria will agree and go away forever.

Re:What could possibly go wrong? (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 3 years ago | (#34065950)

It will? Yeah! We're going to win!

Re:What could possibly go wrong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34069348)

I wonder what the world would be like today if the what-could-possibly-go-wrong crowd was in charge of the smallpox eradication program?

Just brilliant (4, Interesting)

Toe, The (545098) | more than 3 years ago | (#34065660)

Seriously. Einstein didn't create the question behind the theory of relativity: he simply turned an existing question on its head. (The question others couldn't answer was why the speed of light always seemed to be constant regardless of the velocity of the observer, and Einstein "simply" started with the proposition that c is always constant and derived Special Relativity from there.)

This is another beautiful example of turning a problem on it's head. It gives me faith in the infinite potential of science to make new discoveries.

Re:Just brilliant (2, Informative)

E IS mC(Square) (721736) | more than 3 years ago | (#34065918)

If you really want to turn it on it's head, have a mutation and develop G6PD deficiency (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glucose-6-phosphate_dehydrogenase_deficiency#Epidemiology) - an automatic protection against malaria. (G6PD deficiency is also known as Favism).

Only side effect would be not being able to eat fava beans.

One of the theories is that the mutation was caused as survival against malaria / mosquitoes.

Re:Just brilliant (1)

treeves (963993) | more than 3 years ago | (#34066314)

Mr. Hannibal Lecter does not like your proposal. He would like to consume your liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti.

Re:Just brilliant (4, Informative)

Guppy (12314) | more than 3 years ago | (#34066750)

Only side effect would be not being able to eat fava beans.

If "only" that were true. As the wiki entry you linked to points out, for people with G6PD deficiency, a hemolytic anemia reaction can be induced by various drugs and chemicals (including some pretty common ones -- I once met a patient with G6PD deficiency, who apparently had an attack triggered by solvent vapors in a nail salon). Ironically enough, some of these drugs on the problem list include a number of anti-malarial agents.

Infections can also precipitate a crisis, and that's not something you can simply tell them to avoid. So unfortunately, it is a very imperfect defense against Malaria. However, so great was the historical (and in some areas, current) burden, that the advantages outweighed the drawbacks -- as they did for Sickle Cell trait, Alpha and Beta Thalessemia, Hereditary Elliptocytosis, Pyruvate Kinase Deficiency (maybe), and several others. For more information, see Genetic Resistance to Malaria [wikipedia.org] as a good starting place.

Re:Just brilliant (1)

Thiez (1281866) | more than 3 years ago | (#34065966)

Not *that* brilliant. The thought that immunizing mosquitoes might help against malaria has crossed MY mind a couple of years ago, and I'm not even a biologist. I would be extremely surprised if this thing wasn't known for years if not decades amongst people trying to fight malaria. He's probably just the first one who got this thing to work, which is nice, but hardly makes him comparable to Einstein.

Re:Just brilliant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34066362)

Similar to the way Dr. Verlinde turned the question of gravity around.

Instead of assuming that gravity was a fundamental force, he asked if gravity could be caused by something.

The End Of Gravity As a Fundamental Force [slashdot.org]

Re:Just brilliant (1)

Anomalyx (1731404) | more than 3 years ago | (#34066366)

Einstein: Why does does the speed of light not appear to be affected by motion? Let's assume it is never affected by motion. Let's go one step further and assume it is always constant no matter what.

Einsteinian method applied: Why is Malaria appearing to remain as a problem? Let's assume it is still a problem. Let's go one step further and assume it will always be a problem no matter what.

So I propose that Malaria is always constant. Quick, somebody derive some theory with a fancy name, so we can teach it no matter how wrong it gets proven to be! It'll always be right because I proposed that Malaria is always constant...
</sarcasm>

The Problem will be (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34065734)

getting them all to wait in line at the local Walmart immunization tables.

Malaria and DDT (0)

knowthetruth (1779554) | more than 3 years ago | (#34065736)

DDT almost eliminated malaria. Here are the pointers: http://www.crossroad.to/text/search_results.html?cx=015736079649539019301%3A-bdcqxfnx98&cof=FORID%3A11&q=Malaria+DDT&sa=Search&siteurl=www.crossroad.to%252Ftext%252Fsearch.html [crossroad.to] "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" Jermiah 17:9

It wont work. (2, Funny)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 3 years ago | (#34065744)

That girl, who is she, Jenny McCarthy or Jen Aniston or whoever, will protest that these immunizations create autism in mosquitoes and the idiotic press will cover it wall to wall and the mosquitoes will get scared and none of them will show up to take the immunization shots.

Re:It wont work. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34065794)

That girl, who is she, Jenny McCarthy or Jen Aniston or whoever

Jenny McCarthy. Aniston hasn't had anything to do with it, from what I can tell.

Wait so... (1)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#34065766)

Instead of vaccinating a few million humans, we're going to vaccinate a few thousand million mosquitos?

I'm pretty sure that with mosquitos reproducing really quickly and all that, its kinda useless.

Now if we instead make genetically modified mosquitos which can resist it, we could have a winner.

Re:Wait so... (1)

GiveBenADollar (1722738) | more than 3 years ago | (#34065894)

Around here we call a thousand million something different, it's a billion.

Re:Wait so... (1)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 3 years ago | (#34066114)

And in other places they call it a milliard.

Re:Wait so... (2, Funny)

khallow (566160) | more than 3 years ago | (#34066172)

Around here we call a thousand million something different, it's a billion.

That's probably because he's from the UK. They shipped all the crazy people to the States and the crooks to Australia. Now there's nobody interesting left.

Re:Wait so... (1)

Patch86 (1465427) | more than 3 years ago | (#34072002)

Depends if you're talking about Long Scale or Short Scale number naming. Long Scale is still pretty popular in Europe and the non-English speaking world, IIRC.

Long Scale used to be the British method too, although Short Scale has mostly (and probably officially) replaced it now.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long_and_short_scales [wikipedia.org]

Re:Wait so... (2, Interesting)

Dutch Gun (899105) | more than 3 years ago | (#34065940)

The mosquitoes are immunized by biting the humans.

The next question was how to get the mosquitoes to pick up the antigen. Since it is easier to get people to take injections than it is to find mosquitoes, the answer was to allow people to transmit it to mosquitoes when they bite. The antibody itself doesn't protect against malaria, but when a mosquito bites a treated person, the parasite can no longer use the mosquito's gut to reproduce.

Re:Wait so... (0, Troll)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#34066052)

Yes, that part I understood - but

1.) Are you going to immunise all the humans?

2.) Mosquitos reproduce a lot. So the parent which was immunised will still have unimmunised children.

Sure, if you can immunise all the malaria sufferers, it'd be neat-o - end of disease. However with all the time and resources you need to do that - not to mention that the guy is going to die anyway - is it really worth it?

Re:Wait so... (2, Informative)

Amouth (879122) | more than 3 years ago | (#34066238)

just like we failed with smallpox

Re:Wait so... (1)

Dutch Gun (899105) | more than 3 years ago | (#34066658)

My guess is that this would be an additive to a normal malaria immunization shot. So, when an immunized human is bitten by any mosquito, that mosquito also becomes immune to becoming a malaria carrier as well. It's a neat way to piggyback a secondary immunization strategy onto an infrastructure required for primary immunization. It would make that single immunization more effective than it otherwise would have been.

Sure, if you can immunise all the malaria sufferers, it'd be neat-o - end of disease. However with all the time and resources you need to do that - not to mention that the guy is going to die anyway - is it really worth it?

I consider wiping out a deadly disease to be a pretty good long-term investment for humanity. Maybe you don't feel the same way.

Re:Wait so... (1)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#34069236)

Not what I meant.

What I mean is, you're going to get a guy who's dying and tell him "Oh, no we don't have any medicine for you - too expensive and all that. We do however have stuff to make all the mosquitos who will bite you immune to it though. :) "

Re:Wait so... (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 3 years ago | (#34072146)

This depends if the inactivation of the receptors changes the survival rate. If it boosts it, after a nebulous threshold they will naturally overtake the "unvaccinated" population.

If it proves a detriment, however, the odds of it doing that are much more diminished.

Population impact? (2, Interesting)

swb (14022) | more than 3 years ago | (#34065792)

As much as I appreciate the diminishment of death and suffering when a disease like malaria can be neutralized, I wonder if anyone has taken into account the population growth question that results and what the impact on poor regions like Africa that suffer most of the deaths?

It's "only" 800,000 some deaths per year, but given that they are mostly among children this has the potential to equal millions more people if even a relatively small portion (25%?) go on to produce a family with 4-6 offspring.

Re:Population impact? (5, Informative)

jmikelittle (1246304) | more than 3 years ago | (#34065890)

I wonder if anyone has taken into account the population growth question that results and what the impact on poor regions like Africa that suffer most of the deaths?

.... this has the potential to equal millions more people if even a relatively small portion (25%?) go on to produce a family with 4-6 offspring.

It's been repeatedly shown that improved life expectancy and a higher standard of living lowers population growth. If you know your first two children will live relatively healthy and prosperous lives, there is a diminishing incentive to continue to produce children. The less you are sure your kids will live, the more you'd want to make some replacements just in case.

Re:Population impact? (1)

swb (14022) | more than 3 years ago | (#34066708)

That may be true, but there are a number of potentially mitigating factors.

For one, lower population growth has to be a function of generations; it very likely wouldn't happen in a single generation. At least initially there would be a growth in population as parents would continue to have large families. There's also the question of culture and religion -- in many cases family size is driven by religious faith or other cultural norms, not necessarily life expectancy.

Secondly, checking malaria would improve life expectancy but have a nominal impact on standard of living -- decreased medical care vs. more mouths to feed in the short run. The standard of living impact only seems to apply once the population growth has slowed.

Re:Population impact? (1)

jc42 (318812) | more than 3 years ago | (#34069614)

... lower population growth has to be a function of generations; it very likely wouldn't happen in a single generation. At least initially there would be a growth in population as parents would continue to have large families.

Actually, experiments done (sometimes unintentionally) in many parts of the world have shown this to not be true. If local laws are changed to block control by the religious moralists and make affordable birth control available to the poor population, the birth rate shows a sudden drastic drop nine months later.

For example, back in the 1970s and 80s, there were some interesting tests of this in a number of different small towns scattered around India. The government allowed the sale of birth-control at affordable prices, with ongoing predictions that it wouldn't affect the birth rate much, because everyone knew that the Indian lower classes liked big families. In every case, the birth rate a year later was much lower than before. When they did the obvious surveys, they found that the belief was almost correct: The people in the towns mostly agreed that it was good for other people to have big families. But hardly anyone wanted that many children themselves.

Time and again, it has been shown that the primary reason for a high birth rate is a local power structure that blocks access to affordable birth control. When this political/religious control ends and birth control becomes available, the birth rate usually plummets.

Re:Population impact? (1)

swb (14022) | more than 3 years ago | (#34087944)

Interesting. The challenge, of course, being large swaths of Africa where political control and religious control go hand in hand.

Re:Population impact? (1)

sourcerror (1718066) | more than 3 years ago | (#34066722)

"It's been repeatedly shown that improved life expectancy and a higher standard of living lowers population growth"
Well, then you can surely provide a link to a research paper.

On the other hand cities always had below replacement fertility rates.

Re:Population impact? (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 3 years ago | (#34066726)

"The less you are sure your kids will live, the more you'd want to make some replacements just in case." ...Why? What's the point?

Re:Population impact? (1)

fumblebruschi (831320) | more than 3 years ago | (#34067318)

Because the more children you have, the more likely one of them will grow to adulthood. I have a letter written to my great-great-great-grandfather by a nephew of his in the 1860s; the writer mentions, matter-of-factly, that three of his children have died of scarlet fever since he last wrote; since four more of his children had died of scarlet fever previously, that left him with only two children.

Re:Population impact? (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 3 years ago | (#34068168)

"Because the more children you have, the more likely one of them will grow to adulthood."

Why do they care about that? Trying to overpopulate the planet with their worthless genes is a selfish effort.

Re:Population impact? (1)

tehdaemon (753808) | more than 3 years ago | (#34068406)

For the same reason people in the US care about their 401k's. It's their retirement. (there is probably a dose of raw reproductive instinct as well)

T

Re:Population impact? (1)

MrNiceguy_KS (800771) | more than 3 years ago | (#34068472)

Because in those societies, your kids are your retirement plan. Once you're too old to provide for yourself, your kids take care of you.

As for "overpopulating the planet" with "worthless genes", I suggest you take the first step toward stopping that problem and castrate yourself. You know, for the good of the planet.

Re:Population impact? (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 3 years ago | (#34069554)

"I suggest you take the first step toward stopping that problem and castrate yourself."

I don't see what good this will do. Will this somehow stop a majority of the population from reproducing? My point was that their habit of bringing children into this world (and in their terrible environment) when there are already so many is irresponsible.

3rd world living (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34068558)

Inflation is very high. Even for people who are able to make enough money to be able to save some see the value of their savings depreciate rapidly.

For people who would like to be able to retire, or survive past prime working age, a large family is one of the best investments you can make. Food surpluses in developed nations drive down global food prices making the cost of additional children low. The poorest sub populations also typically receive substantial food subsidies from the government, which is a very affordable type of vote buying for politicians.

Other less accessible retirement options include: doing skilled labor for a multinational company, and acquiring tenure in a public bureau.

Many of these people are not aware of the concept of "genes". Any awareness of concepts related to inheritance and heritable character are likely to be grounded in some type of religion.

Re:Population impact? (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 3 years ago | (#34068040)

So that explains all those Mormon families with 4-10 kids! Oh wait...

genes and lyfe expectancy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34068688)

Mormon communities typically have a high level of inbreeding/incest so it is important for them to have a lot of children in order to produce viable non-degenerate strains.

They also strive to improve gene diversity through missionary outreach.

It requires a long term perspective.

Historically morman religious welfare provided the resources necessary for this endeavor, although at present in the usa it is also subsidized through the public welfare programs.

Re:Population impact? (2, Informative)

thomst (1640045) | more than 3 years ago | (#34066642)

As much as I appreciate the diminishment of death and suffering when a disease like malaria can be neutralized, I wonder if anyone has taken into account the population growth question that results and what the impact on poor regions like Africa that suffer most of the deaths?

It's "only" 800,000 some deaths per year, but given that they are mostly among children this has the potential to equal millions more people if even a relatively small portion (25%?) go on to produce a family with 4-6 offspring.

The current overpopulation problem in Africa and elsewhere is due in some measure to the ready availability of inexpensive antibiotics, as well as social factors, such as resistance to the use of birth control by men, and the increase in social status from fathering many children.

Improved life expectancy alone has no effect on this trend - it's better, higher, more widespread education, combined with a higher standard of living that brings birth rates down. As long as the majority of Africa remains desperately impoverished and uneducated, removing malaria from the picture will, indeed, result in additional population pressure there.

In my book, that means that eliminating malaria is still desirable - alleviating human suffering is always a Good Thing - but it absolutely must be combined with a concerted, long-term effort to raise both Africa's standard of living and its general educational level by considerable amounts. Otherwise, the Law of Unintended Consequences raises its ugly, fanged head, and defeating malaria winds up adding to, rather than subtracting from, the sum of Africa's misery.

genetically modified mosquitos (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34065822)

i think i read an article about something like this a year ago
where the suggested solution was to create a genetically modified mosqito race, immune to malaria which would also have to be stronger than the original ones and therefore outbreed them

Re:genetically modified mosquitos (1)

JSBiff (87824) | more than 3 years ago | (#34065962)

Why not just make it so that the 'new' mosquitoes just breed with other mosquitoes, so that eventually all mosquitoes pick up the new gene?

Ah So (1)

Nashville Guy (585073) | more than 3 years ago | (#34065902)

Very wise, Dingla San. You sense the vulnerability of the prasmodium!

Population control Nazis (1, Troll)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 3 years ago | (#34065976)

This won't go over well with those in favor of population control and radical environmentalism. They will stop this, like they did DDT!

Re:Population control Nazis (2, Funny)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 3 years ago | (#34066520)

Ahh, you can tell it's halloween, the ghost stories are coming out. For example, here we have the tale of the frightening "radical environmentalist" who, apparently, wants to control the population through... like... protecting the environment and shit.

Are you next going to regale us with the tale of the evil illegal immigrant nefariously TAKING YER JERBS?

Re:Population control Nazis (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34066790)

Illegal immigrants aren't "taking" jobs, it's corporate America that's "giving" them away at minimum wage or below in some instances. They have no rights, and thus can't complain. Not that they care as their lives are still better than that shithole they call Mexico.

Oh, and part of their wages get sent across the boarder to support extended family while the rest is spent enough to pay for food and shelter. They don't re-invest much of their income.

Did you misunderstand? (1)

sosaited (1925622) | more than 3 years ago | (#34066112)

You'd be wrong if you assumed that he intended to inject the vaccine to the mosquitoes directly. He actually suggests to give humans the antibodies, which will then be picked up by the mosquito when it bites the person.

From TFA

The next question was how to get the mosquitoes to pick up the antigen. Since it is easier to get people to take injections than it is to find mosquitoes, the answer was to allow people to transmit it to mosquitoes when they bite. The antibody itself doesn't protect against malaria, but when a mosquito bites a treated person, the parasite can no longer use the mosquito's gut to reproduce.

Re:Did you misunderstand? (2, Insightful)

cindyann (1916572) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:Did you misunderstand? (1)

Dutch Gun (899105) | more than 3 years ago | (#34067934)

There's a chance the Gates foundation may very well be funding this (or similar projects), as global eradication of malaria seems to be one of their causes.

Also, on the Wikipedia article I read regarding the elimination of infectious diseases, it appears some drugs are actually donated by "Big Pharma". I have no idea how widespread that practice is though.

What about other Mosquito illnesses? (2, Insightful)

aapold (753705) | more than 3 years ago | (#34066168)

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...

Re:What about other Mosquito illnesses? (1)

peted56 (1842988) | more than 3 years ago | (#34066510)

As sufferer of malaria all I can say is any hope to rid the world of malaria is a good thing.

Re:What about other Mosquito illnesses? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34066592)

Many kinds would race behind the sprayer trucks on bicycles

It takes all kinds I guess.

Re:What about other Mosquito illnesses? (2, Informative)

lazn (202878) | more than 3 years ago | (#34066946)

Sure, but DDT is safe to humans. http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/710158/posts [freerepublic.com]
"And DDT is extraordinarily safe for humans. Prof Kenneth Mellanby lectured on it for more than 40 years, and during each lecture he would eat a pinch."

And DDT does not hurt wildlife either, bird populations were increasing during the years DDT was in the most widespread use.

more info that is middle of the road:
http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/2428/was-rachel-carson-a-fraud-and-is-ddt-actually-safe-for-humans [straightdope.com]

But I like malaria! (1)

Spectre (1685) | more than 3 years ago | (#34066182)

It gives me an excuse for a daily gin and tonic!

http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/1342/will-the-quinine-in-tonic-water-prevent-malaria [straightdope.com]

Re:But I like malaria! (1)

snspdaarf (1314399) | more than 3 years ago | (#34066706)

It gives me an excuse for a daily gin and tonic!

Obviously, you don't drink professionally.

Interesting idea, but.. (1)

TFAFalcon (1839122) | more than 3 years ago | (#34066246)

for this method to work, they would need to 'infect' a large percentage of the world population with their antigen, and keep doing it indefinitely, since mosquitoes aren't known for their long life-cycles and this treatment probably isn't hereditary.

So who is going to pay for this? Why waste money vaccinating millions(billions) of people, to reduce infections in the short term sounds like a waste of money that could be better used to cure those already infected.

Re:Interesting idea, but.. (1)

publiclurker (952615) | more than 3 years ago | (#34067544)

Vaccination is a waste of money but cures are not? Which pharmaceutical company are you shilling for?

Re:Interesting idea, but.. (1)

TFAFalcon (1839122) | more than 3 years ago | (#34068164)

This vaccine doesn't even protect the person that was vaccinated.
All it does is prevent mosquitoes that bite the person from being infected by malaria. So, considering the lifespan of a mosquito, people will constantly have to keep getting these vaccines indeffinitely, if we want to see any benefit whatsoever. Of course this ignores the possibility of mosquitoes being infected before biting a human (monkeys etc).

So yes, cures for people that actually get infected are probably a much better choice then vaccines.

Re:Interesting idea, but.. (1)

samsoncomics (1908844) | more than 3 years ago | (#34146730)

What do you mean that the vaccine doesn't protect the person vaccinated? Isn't just like a flu shot? Please explain clearly with your data & source. Thanks!

Re:Interesting idea, but.. (1)

TFAFalcon (1839122) | more than 3 years ago | (#34146980)

The article states that the vaccine will only stop the mosquito from being infected by malaria. So the person vaccinated just protects MOSQUITOES that bite them from being infected.

Call Jenny McCarthy (0, Redundant)

PvtVoid (1252388) | more than 3 years ago | (#34066280)

Think of the autistic mosquitoes!

Batman, more bats, please ... (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 3 years ago | (#34066388)

Bats seem to eat these pesky mosquito critters, so why don't we simply implement "pro-bat" policies in malaria infected countries?

Oh, malaria infected vampire bats biting and infecting folks? Just what we need for Halloween!

Re:Batman, more bats, please ... (1)

sourcerror (1718066) | more than 3 years ago | (#34066820)

Most bat species don't drink blood. And even those which do, bite bigger mammals like cows and horses, not humans.

this Is goatsex (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34067568)

Not my mosquito... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34067900)

You can immunize my mosquito when you can pry it from... ouch.. SMACK

never mind.

One solution already exists (2, Interesting)

perrin (891) | more than 3 years ago | (#34068878)

Malaria is only transferred by some species of mosquito. One thing governments in affected regions have been doing is to release mosquitoes from species that can out-compete the malaria-carrying species. These are typically larger and bite harder, but it is still better than being infected by malaria. I visited one such region recently, and while the larger mosquitoes are more frightening, they are still nothing compared to the horror that is tsetse flies.

Re:One solution already exists (1)

Vernes (720223) | more than 3 years ago | (#34070264)

That is, until larger means "being able to pick you off the ground and fly off with you"

Re:One solution already exists (1)

eugene ts wong (231154) | more than 3 years ago | (#34070896)

I don't understand how these mosquitoes compete. Aren't there enough food sources for all of them?

Re:One solution already exists (1)

misexistentialist (1537887) | more than 3 years ago | (#34072054)

I'm not an expert, but I think a main limiting factor for mosquitoes is habitat and food for larvae.

Re:One solution already exists (1)

phasmatid (1080913) | more than 3 years ago | (#34080556)

I visited one such region recently

wtfbbq? What such region might this be? I study biocontrol and mosquitoes, and this seems like a wacky (stupid) idea. The expertise required to rear, transport and release mosquitoes implies some level of expertise (and financing), so I'd be curious who is behind it and how they justify this...

Is that all? Just lost productivity? (1)

Sean Hederman (870482) | more than 3 years ago | (#34070958)

costs many developing countries millions of dollars a year in lost productivity.

That's a very, um, interesting way of saying "killing between one and three million people [a year], the majority of whom are young children" [wikipedia.org] . Who knew that the main problem with immense death, suffering and destruction was the lost productivity? Well, at least it's only kids, so not much skills and productivity is lost by that, yeah?

So, we're waiting for ... (1)

devnulljapan (316200) | more than 3 years ago | (#34071382)

So, we're all waiting for Jenny McCarthy's take on this development right? Age of Autism will be ramping up the PR machine by now to mobilise their horde of mommybloggers around the globe to fight this. Can't wait for the Andrew Wakefield press conference...

Stopping Malaria With Olive Leaves (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#34071460)

Or, you know, you could just use Olive Leaf Extract [google.com] . You can make it yourself; Pliny's recipe was three olive leaves crushed into a cup of boiling water, drink thrice daily (IIRC) until the fever subsides.

I realize Olives don't grow everywhere, but the leaves transport almost as well as the cured/curing fruit...

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