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Malaria Vaccine Nearing Reality

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the a-spoonful-of-sugar dept.

Medicine 209

colin_faber writes "Right on the heels of the Bill Gates BusinessWeek article discussing the importance of disease prevention and cure over technological deployment is news from CNN that U.S. researchers may have a viable vaccine for malaria. If true, this could change the lives of up to 3.3 billion people living in malaria danger zones and allow us to do away with this disease, which kills hundreds of thousands of people."

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"allow us to do away with this disease".... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44518689)

yeah... Until concerned parents boycott the vaccine because they think it causes autism.

African parent vs autism (0)

sjbe (173966) | about a year ago | (#44518717)

Until concerned parents boycott the vaccine because they think it causes autism.

I don't think that is going to be a big problem in Africa.

Re:African parent vs autism (4, Insightful)

Seumas (6865) | about a year ago | (#44518759)

Until concerned parents boycott the vaccine because they think it causes autism.

I don't think that is going to be a big problem in Africa.

. . . where people allegedly believe raping virgins is a cure for AIDs [telegraph.co.uk] ...?

Re:African parent vs autism (2)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year ago | (#44518833)

I love the mistake in the article: the organization supposedly named "People Opposed to Women Abused". As in "(People Opposed to Women) Abused"?

Re:African parent vs autism (1)

Noughmad (1044096) | about a year ago | (#44518767)

Why not? Do you feel that Africans are, on average, more rational than Europeans and Americans?

Re:African parent vs autism (5, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#44518889)

Why not? Do you feel that Africans are, on average, more rational than Europeans and Americans?

More rational? No. More fearful of illness and/or death by malaria? Just a bit...

Medicine-related nonsense tends to flourish in the presence of at least one of two conditions: (1) the risk presented by a given disease is very low (the common cold is annoying but nearly harmless, so Airborne(tm) "Invented by a schoolteacher!" doesn't have to worry about any unpleasant testimonials involving dead customers, as long as it doesn't kill them itself...) (2) Conventional medicine has few answers, or very bad news, for you. (If the doctor says that there isn't much we can do, the odds that you'll go find somebody willing to tell you something more palatable just jumped rather markedly...)

American and European vaccine 'controversy' flourishes in the presence of both of these elements: the vaccines people worry about are for diseases that relatively few people have even seen/experienced in person (because vaccination mostly eradicated them) and which are seen as very low risk, while the fears and quackery bubble around autism, a condition for which present medical expertise's ability to help is rather severely lacking.

When it comes to diseases that actually scare them, Americans and Europeans have relatively high compliance rates, even with treatments that are well known to be quite unpleasant and dangerous (chemo, major surgery, antiretrovirals, etc, etc.).

Re:African parent vs autism (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about a year ago | (#44519827)

That's only western variety antivax movement though. There are other reasons some people worldwide might be opposed to it. For instance, the good old CIA using it. [nytimes.com] If people are paranoid about the doctors giving the shot, it's going to have problems. Witness the paranoia about HIV treatments. That IS happening to some degree in Africa.

Re:African parent vs autism (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#44520129)

Not that it's a surprise, the CIA being what it is; but that little trick was crazy unethical on their part. Strictly speaking, though, it didn't seem to have much effect on attitudes about vaccines specifically, just the luckless bastards who have the pleasure of administering them and occasionally getting killed for their trouble.

Re:African parent vs autism (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44518935)

Why not? Do you feel that Africans are, on average, more rational than Europeans and Americans?

Well for starters, Jenny McCarthy is an American...

Re:African parent vs autism (2, Funny)

Titan1080 (1328519) | about a year ago | (#44519347)

If you think Africa is so great, why not emigrate there? I hear they welcome white people with open arms.

Most Africans are pretty sensible people (4, Informative)

sjbe (173966) | about a year ago | (#44519021)

Why not? Do you feel that Africans are, on average, more rational than Europeans and Americans?

No but your average European or American is generally pretty rational. Furthermore malaria is an obvious enough problem in Africa that the risks of any side effect (real or imagined) will be very minor by comparison if the vaccine actually works. In some places in Africa the CDC reports that malaria accounts for close to half of all hospital admissions. It kills 600,000 people a year and sickens millions more. It's almost impossible to overstate how beneficial a cure for malaria would be to affected populations. I've seen some snarky comments in this thread but Africans mostly understand the problem quite well. Certainly better than most of the people posting here since I doubt more than a handful of slashdotters have actually observed the effects of malaria first hand.

Re:Most Africans are pretty sensible people (0)

jsepeta (412566) | about a year ago | (#44519179)

It's not Christians who believe that women require genital mutilation. But Muslims, predominately in Africa, see this as a good thing. Assholes.

Re:Most Africans are pretty sensible people (3, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#44519237)

Actually it is a tribal thing, it has nothing to do with religion.

If you are trying to hold up people who believe a 2000 year old jew is the son of god and he magically came back to life 3 days after his execution as rational I am afraid I simply can't agree.

Re: Your Signature (1)

Dr. Sheldon Cooper (2726841) | about a year ago | (#44519735)

That's Dr. Sheldon Cooper, if you please.

If you find this statement too direct, please feel free to imagine that it was concluded with a winky face or some other unnecessary yet somehow comforting-to-the-unwashed-masses communicative frivolity.

You're welcome.

Re:Most Africans are pretty sensible people (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44519885)

No, Americans just believe in male genital mutilation.

In fact, this is such an extreme knee-jerk rage topic for them that the very existence of somebody who even calls it that causes a explosion of hissy fits in them that will probably cause this comment to be downmodded into oblivion.

Been there. Many times.

And they call the Africans savages...

Re:Most Africans are pretty sensible people (1)

Seumas (6865) | about a year ago | (#44520177)

Yeah, assholes! You should just stay home and pray your children's illness away you neanderthals!

*eyeroll*

Re:Most Africans are pretty sensible people (3, Interesting)

buchner.johannes (1139593) | about a year ago | (#44519283)

It should also be a concern for e.g. Europeans.
The alpine latitudes are becoming more Mediterranean. Just this year, we are having a heat wave breaking records. It can be expected that African diseases will spread north-bound due to climate change.
Last year, the first mosquito with Malaria was found in Austria. In Greece, the winter was so warm that the population of mosquitoes survived -- a problematic novelty.
The costs of climate change are high.

Re:Most Africans are pretty sensible people (1)

Noughmad (1044096) | about a year ago | (#44519415)

your average European or American is generally pretty rational.

Then why does the average American support TSA and why is the average European against nuclear energy?

Re:Most Africans are pretty sensible people (1, Insightful)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about a year ago | (#44520077)

So now Africa will have 600,000 more people a year to feed, house, and clothe, and they can't even do that now. Yay?

Re:Most Africans are pretty sensible people (1)

Seumas (6865) | about a year ago | (#44520159)

Ssshhh. Don't interrupt while the internet is busy generalizing an entire continent.

Malaria is one of those basic things that it is a shame we haven't defeated long ago and will be on-par with efforts for clean water in so far as saving enormous populations of people. My aunt was a medical missionary -- running and teaching in several nursing hospitals -- across Zambia, Kenya, and Zimbabwe for twenty years. She contracted malaria about thirty years ago and though otherwise healthy, has had to be on blood pressure medication almost ever since as a result (though I don't believe long-term effects generally come from malaria).

Snuffing the predominance of malaria occurring on the African continent could have an almost unfathomable positive impact. This seems like a Norma Borlaug scale accomplishment.

Re:African parent vs autism (4, Informative)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#44518787)

There have been instances of vaccine-related 'controversy' bullshit in Africa [nih.gov] (Good work, part of Nigera, it's not like polio is a problem or anything...); but none related to autism, to my knowledge.

In general, though, there's nothing like a population for which some ghastly disease is still a firsthand reality to keep vaccine concerns (even ones founded on actual side effects of the vaccine) at bay. For something with the morbidity and mortality rates of malaria, even a vaccine with atypically nasty risks would probably be damn popular.

The really difficult problem is when dealing with diseases that are almost nonexistent (and thus not scary)

Re:African parent vs autism (2)

Richard_at_work (517087) | about a year ago | (#44519275)

Spend time in any African country and you realise that the ignorance about medical issues is an inbred thing - I was in South Africa in 2011 and saw lots of billboards all over the country with the Health Ministers image on it and the quote "avoid AIDS, get circumcised". She also held the policy of rejecting antivirals and instead promoted her own diet of garlic and beet root.

I've seen similar issues in Namibia, Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda and others.

Re:African parent vs autism (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#44519397)

South Africa is really a sad case: Unlike a lot of postcolonial states, they got damn lucky with Mandela (elsewhere, the number of people who were good freedom-fighters and really, really, shitty autocrats is just alarming); but the ANC basically hasn't had a good idea since then. Mbeki was a stark-raving AIDs denialist (as was his favorite Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, and some of his 'outside experts', notably Peter Duesberg and David Rasnick); and, though the overt craziness surrounding AIDs is supposed to be over at present, the quality of governance is still... painfully unimpressive.

There's a reason why Mandela's health problems have been the object of so much strategic-mourning among ANC figures: basically, their remaining credibility is now bouncing in and out of the hospital on the edge of death...

Re:African parent vs autism (2, Informative)

jratcliffe (208809) | about a year ago | (#44519409)

I was in South Africa in 2011 and saw lots of billboards all over the country with the Health Ministers image on it and the quote "avoid AIDS, get circumcised".

This is good health policy. "There is compelling evidence that male circumcision reduces the risk of heterosexually acquired HIV infection in men by approximately 60%." - WHO (http://www.who.int/hiv/topics/malecircumcision/en/)

She also held the policy of rejecting antivirals and instead promoted her own diet of garlic and beet root.

This is garbage health policy.

Re:African parent vs autism (2, Insightful)

Vaphell (1489021) | about a year ago | (#44519777)

This is good health policy. "There is compelling evidence that male circumcision reduces the risk of heterosexually acquired HIV infection in men by approximately 60%." - WHO (http://www.who.int/hiv/topics/malecircumcision/en/)

bull-fucking-shit. The study 'proving' that is widely criticized for being botched, eg people who got circumsized were also taught some sex ed, while uncircumsized guys were left to their devices.
Besides, all the benefits vanish if people fuck twice as much and don't bother with rubber because they think they are safe. Hell, down there they still think rubber is not necessary if you can find a virgin or 2.

Dowsett et al. urged caution over using circumcision as a HIV prevention strategy saying that there were still questions that needed to be answered: "We need to investigate the effects of those other social and contextual factors that will be in play in real world settings – because the effectiveness of male circumcision will not be generated by the efficacy of the surgery alone." He contrasts the preventative effect of circumcision taken from the RCT's (55%) with the preventative effect of condoms (80-90%). He criticises the fact that the trials were not double-blinded - the participants knew their circumcision status and so this could have affected how the men responded behaviourally, psychologically and sexually. He criticised the randomisation measures used in the trial: sexual practices (number of partners, condom use) and sexual health measures (presence of STIs), saying that "Effective measures were not used, and differences related to sexual subjectivity, such as sexual network participation, pleasure preferences, body image, sexual history effects (e.g. abuse), partner preferences (younger, older, peers, groups) and so on were never assessed or analysed." He also asks how the extensive counselling and education might have influenced the participants' sexual activity. He adds that "all participants were subject to regular monitoring (e.g. behaviour surveys, clinical check-ups), which clearly might have enhanced compliance with suggested safety regimes and lowered risk-taking during the follow-up period. Such compliance cannot be guaranteed in real world settings." He also said the trials were subject to the Hawthorne effect.[23]

not to mention that if you found by chance that circumcision of females cures cancer and solves the problem of world hunger you'd still get feminists and UN screaming bloody murder and how women have a right to bodily autonomy. Cutting dicks by millions? No problem.

Re:African parent vs autism (2)

Eunuchswear (210685) | about a year ago | (#44519513)

Spend time in any African country and you realise that the ignorance about medical issues is an inbred thing - I was in South Africa in 2011 and saw lots of billboards all over the country with the Health Ministers image on it and the quote "avoid AIDS, get circumcised"

Circumcising African men may cut their risk of catching AIDS in half, the National Institutes of Health said today.

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/13/health/13cnd-hiv.html?_r=0 [nytimes.com]

So, the NIH are a bunch of ignorant Africans now?

Re:African parent vs autism (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | about a year ago | (#44520191)

Yes, because it doesn't stop women becoming infected.

Re:"allow us to do away with this disease".... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44519333)

That's silly, why would anyone believe that? No, africans are more prone to believing scientific facts like 'having sex with babies to get rid of AIDS'.

Re:"allow us to do away with this disease".... (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | about a year ago | (#44519491)

Actually in Muslim countries extremists are telling people that the polio vaccine is a way for the west to get your DNA so they can track you down and kill you later. Or that it causes AIDs or that it is a plot to sterilize Muslim girls. They also say that is how the US found Bin Laden. None of it is true and there have even been murders of the people trying to give the vaccines. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/09/world/africa/in-nigeria-polio-vaccine-workers-are-killed-by-gunmen.html?_r=0 [nytimes.com]
And please do not get off on an anti-muslim or anti-religion rant. This is pure politics and if you do not think that atheists in power have not done the same types of things I suggest you read up on the history of the USSR, China and North Korea.

Re:"allow us to do away with this disease".... (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about a year ago | (#44519765)

Pretty sure diseases mutating around the vaccine is usually a bigger problem, albeit a less infuriating one. We know the diseases lack nervous systems, the parents we expect DO have brain cells.

Can't wait! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44518705)

Does it include formaldehyde? If so, I'm all over it!

Heals? (4, Funny)

somersault (912633) | about a year ago | (#44518715)

Genius pun, or awful spelling?

Oblig (2)

Smivs (1197859) | about a year ago | (#44518725)

Think of the Plasmodium!

Do Away With This Disease? (5, Insightful)

x_IamSpartacus_x (1232932) | about a year ago | (#44518727)

It's definitely something to be celebrated that we're nearing the mark of a viable vaccine. Unfortunately, the hardest hit areas by Malaria are not places where vaccine distribution is

Easy
Affordable by those who need it
I would love to see this vaccine become a reality but I'm not very hopeful that this would have a price tag that many African nations could afford to give out to their populations for free or, if not free, the pennies the average citizen could afford. Mozambique, where I live and work, is VERY hard hit by Malaria but it's rural areas are very poor and the medicine distribution points in the CITIES struggle to keep vaccines refrigerated and properly handled. There is much development to be done in many of the nations who see high death rates from Malaria before we can use phrases like "allow us to do away with this disease". I do hope to see the disease done away with but let's not assume that with the development of the vaccine that that victory is imminent.

Re:Do Away With This Disease? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44518779)

I thought the whole point of Bill Gates' foundation's attempts to find a vaccine for Malaria was to:

1. create a vaccine
2. make lots of it for cheap
3. find ways to distribute it everywhere as cheap as possible
4. help distribute it everywhere

Seems to me that if they keep throwing money at the problems (refrigeration, handling) they will eventually succeed.

Re:Do Away With This Disease? (1)

CensorshipDonkey (1108755) | about a year ago | (#44519121)

It's nice to see a voice of reason in a sea of people who just can't wait to point out all the ways this won't work. Everyone successfully vaccinated is a success story, this isn't a binary effort.

Re:Do Away With This Disease? (1)

aurispector (530273) | about a year ago | (#44518863)

Many of the areas hardest hit by malaria are the same areas stricken by endemic poverty, corruption, famine, etc.. There is a long way to go before curing malaria even puts a dent in their problems.

How prevention may fight poverty (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year ago | (#44519597)

Perhaps if more people were to survive to and through productive adulthood instead of dying early to malaria, less effort would need to be spent on rearing children. The savings to a society from less loss of people to diseasemight help toward fighting poverty.

Re:Do Away With This Disease? (1)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | about a year ago | (#44520209)

Many of the areas hardest hit by malaria are the same areas stricken by endemic poverty, corruption, famine, etc.. There is a long way to go before curing malaria even puts a dent in their problems.

Doesn't mean we shouldn't try - I think people who say this truly don't understand the scope of the Malaria problem.

Malaria kills 1.2 MILLION people EVERY year. That's like everyone in Dallas dying, every year. Well over half those people are children under the age of five. Sure, democracy and the absence of corruption is necessary eventually - But a mother who is lying next to a cot as her four-year-old dies doesn't give a damn about that stuff, and frankly neither would I.

Re:Do Away With This Disease? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44518875)

The technique has been used before/ old hat on other diseases.
The multiple transfusions bit is the same as if you got a resistant antibiotics.
Maybe if tried on multiple horses, we may get antibodies back.
The unanswered innovation is what got blasted off to make a human respond - or is it radiation blasted different bits off, and one bit
makes makes a difference. Aids and the Flu have changing 'receptors' - so the real breakthrough will to be to figure out why.

The sample size is small ;if 12- 24 to 36 statistically better . Lets hope the mosquito does not talk to the cockroach, that has
inbuilt radiation protection/resistance.

   

Re:Do Away With This Disease? (4, Informative)

gaspyy (514539) | about a year ago | (#44518893)

Well, Bill Gates was showing a special container that doesn't require electricity and can keep medicine refrigerated for up to 50 days at high outside temperatures.
The whole point of a malaria vaccine is to make it affordable for poor nations. The demand for a malaria vaccine in rich countries is pretty low.

Re:Do Away With This Disease? (2)

starless (60879) | about a year ago | (#44519231)

The demand for a malaria vaccine in rich countries is pretty low.

Except at very least the rich countries would want to have their military personnel vaccinated, which would be
a fair number of people.
e.g. over 2 million active and reserve in the US alone.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Armed_Forces [wikipedia.org]

Re:Do Away With This Disease? (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about a year ago | (#44519477)

Bullshit. Everyone in the world will get this vaccine eventually. It will be part of your standard immunizations as a child.

Re:Do Away With This Disease? (1)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | about a year ago | (#44520243)

Well, Bill Gates was showing a special container

I'm sorry, this is Slashdot. If Bill Gates was showing it, obviously it is a container of EVIL.

Re:Do Away With This Disease? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44518927)

In ReGenesis (the Canadian tv show) some guys were developing vaccinations with yeast (could e.g. produce and secrete some viral surface proteins) and the cool part was that you'd just turn this yeast into bread (obviously not quite that easy) and there you have it. Cheap to make, easy to distribute..

Re:Do Away With This Disease? (0, Troll)

rally2xs (1093023) | about a year ago | (#44518985)

Maybe the envirowackos will figure out a way to torpedo the vaccine like they did DDT, so's the price goes thru the roof and becomes unaffordable for poor countries such as those in Africa, like they did for DDT. Envirowackos don't care about people, just making the planet safe for plants and animals.

Re:Do Away With This Disease? (1)

Eunuchswear (210685) | about a year ago | (#44519633)

Maybe the envirowackos will figure out a way to torpedo the vaccine like they did DDT, so's the price goes thru the roof and becomes unaffordable for poor countries such as those in Africa, like they did for DDT.

DDT is pretty fucking cheap. When did it's "price go through the roof"?

Re:Do Away With This Disease? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44519305)

Viable vaccine? Hardly. 66% efficacy (as measured by smear negative asymptomatic cases) is hardly an achievement. In fact there have been a number of studies using more sensitive detection techniques that have suggested the existence of a huge pool of asymptomatic carriers that are still likely incubating and spreading the parasite. Plus the "immunity" only lasted a maximum of 18 months. The way it's grown is non-trivial either. Unlike most vaccines which can be grown in tissue culture or in simple bioreactors like eggs, this one has to be grown in and harvested from mosquitoes- an expensive proposition. This "vaccine", if it ever actually reaches the market, is unlikely to make a notable impact except perhaps outside of somewhat reducing the risk for traveler and lining Sanaria's investors' pockets with money from governments and aid agencies that would be better spent expanding diagnostic coverage, subsidizing artemisinin combination therapies and distributing bed nets.

So what (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44518749)

Eat poo.

Woo (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44518751)

Now they can die from malnourishment instead.

Re:Woo (5, Insightful)

khallow (566160) | about a year ago | (#44518861)

Those people can also work to prevent that malnourishment just like they do in the developed world. Keep in mind that malaria doesn't just kill people, it also cripples people. If you're suffering from a bout of malaria, you're not helping feed your family.

Prevention and/or cure? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44518761)

All the information I could find seems a bit vague, are we talking about prevention and/or cure?

Re:Prevention and/or cure? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44518911)

Prevention.

No BSOD with this one please Bill. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44518825)

and I'll forgive you for WIndows ME and VIsta

I guess it's fun (1, Funny)

korbulon (2792438) | about a year ago | (#44518841)

Because you shoot people in the arm.

But it's not an area that I'll be putting money into.

Early days yet (4, Insightful)

dtmos (447842) | about a year ago | (#44518871)

Having a vaccine that must be injected intravenously (not just intramuscularly), five times, in order to be effective is an interesting scientific advance (as stated in TFA), but isn't what one would call a practical solution to the malaria problem in the underdeveloped world (also as stated in TFA). Also keep in mind that many other proposed vaccines have looked good initially, but failed to pass muster later on, and that this trial was very, very small:

Researchers reported that the six volunteers who received five intravenous doses of the vaccine did not contract malaria when exposed to the microscopic parasite. Of the nine who received four doses, three contracted the disease. Of 12 who received no vaccine, 11 became infected.

It's a big stretch to go from six protected individuals to hundreds of millions, so I suggest that the champagne for the "End of Malaria" party not be put on ice just yet. While it is an interesting result, I think someone describing the status of the malaria vaccine as "nearing reality" isn't a very good judge of distance.

Re:Early days yet (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44518987)

who the hell volunteers to be infected by Malaria?

Re:Early days yet (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about a year ago | (#44519375)

I was wondering this too.

Re:Early days yet (4, Insightful)

dotancohen (1015143) | about a year ago | (#44519933)

who the hell volunteers to be infected by Malaria?

Heros. Not cape-wearing crime-fighting heros like you find in comic books, but real heros that put themselves in danger to advance mankind. When you meet the uneducated African sustenance farmer who volunteered to be exposed to Malaria, you should treat his as you would treat Cook [wikipedia.org] , or Armstrong [wikipedia.org] , or Bouazizi [wikipedia.org]

Re:Early days yet (2)

jittles (1613415) | about a year ago | (#44520285)

Having a vaccine that must be injected intravenously (not just intramuscularly), five times, in order to be effective is an interesting scientific advance (as stated in TFA), but isn't what one would call a practical solution to the malaria problem in the underdeveloped world (also as stated in TFA). Also keep in mind that many other proposed vaccines have looked good initially, but failed to pass muster later on, and that this trial was very, very small:

I got bit by a dog as a child. They could not find the animal and, due to the nature of the attack, there was concern that it may be rabid. I had to have 7 rabies shots over the course of about 5 weeks. Yes they were intramuscular, but it was worth every shot to not succumb to rabies. Something is better than nothing.

3.3 billion (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44518877)

ROFLMAO

Don't eliminate malaria, eliminate mosquitos! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44518913)

Get rid of those little bastards and a mess of diseases lose their transmission vector. West nile, dengue fever, yellow fever, etc...

Plus, the forests of North America get a lot more bearable in the summertime.

 

Mosquitos are food. (1)

hoboroadie (1726896) | about a year ago | (#44519045)

The forests of North America are missing some birds...
Think again.

Re:Mosquitos are food. (1)

CensorshipDonkey (1108755) | about a year ago | (#44519139)

I don't know about you, but here in North Carolina we still have a shit-ton of mosquitoes.

Balance of Nature. (1)

hoboroadie (1726896) | about a year ago | (#44519659)

Probably because you killed off your bats and birds. I lived in Mecklenburg and Cabarrus counties in the 70s but I recommend moving out of the Malarial regions of the state. I have personally noted a direct correlation between the de-population of the bat-house on the barn and a HUGE increase in mosquitoes on the farm this year in southern Oregon. We had one Purple Marten sighting and only one Tree Swallow nest (actually, next farm over) this year. Not good.

Re:Balance of Nature. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44519793)

Sorry, I don't want to be contrarian, but we have a lot of both as well. When I'm out walking in the evening I see a lot of swallows flying around, and we've found four bats in our house in the last year. Suburban Durham.

Re:Mosquitos are food. (1)

Megane (129182) | about a year ago | (#44519613)

So exactly which birds are you referring to that live on a diet of nothing but mosquitoes, and would go extinct without them? It's not like other bugs can't increase their numbers to fill the niche.

Radiation, not recoding? (3, Interesting)

Dr. Manhattan (29720) | about a year ago | (#44518915)

From TFA: "The samples were weakened by radiation and then frozen."

It was five years ago I read about this [nytimes.com] , where they weakened a virus by actually re-coding in with the 'most pessimal' version of its genome. Same proteins, but reproduces three orders of magnitude slower.

And I haven't heard anything since. Does anyone know what's been going on with that? I suppose re-coding a whole single-celled organism might be more difficult/expensive than a virus, but still... the problem with point-mutations weaking a disease is that point-mutations can be reversed. Eventually someone's going to get sick from the vaccine itself. (Still, if the vaccine's effective it's a better bet, but if you can eliminate that chance...)

King Billy = a GOOD "1%'er" & how/why... apk (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44518943)

No matter how you cut it & he's even spurring other 1%'ers to do the same -> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pMa480pAD5g [youtube.com] (and yes, he's "righter" than GOOGLE is, for more IMMEDIATE concerns... he's showing better logic, period!).

Yes, & what King Billy's doing?

It's "catching on"!

See the film "THE 1 PERCENT" by the heir to the Johnson & Johnson pharmaceuticals empire (good kid, smart kid - he's a mature young person with a conscience, he's questioning the present structure)...

You'll see what I mean -> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HmlX3fLQrEc [youtube.com]

APK

P.S.=> The "economic genius" Nobel prize winner Jamie Johnson spoke to? Full of shit!

I.E.-> Especially his *trying* to say:

"Workers earn more now than ever with US in control!"

Yea? BULLSHIT!

Offshoring & inflation respectively RUIN that & make it an illusion via the latter - today's dollars only have 2% of their former silver &/or gold backed value - they're not WORTH as much, "pound-for-pound"!

(Kid even questioned it, he's not stupid, & the 'genius' there dismissed him, shooed him off, before he looked TOTALLY stupid is why!)

Man - I'd love to have sat down in a formal debate with that MORON economist & torn him apart with the best thing possible - math, & results! Some economist - bullshitter is more like it!

The 1 rich man who IS probably right though, that 1 man can't make a perfect world? Jamie's dad. I was told by a Chilean girl on a train heading to Prague in 2010 while travelling Europe that's what's needed is "small revolutions" & she's right as rain (I.E.-> Everyone doing a LITTLE BIT to make a better worlds, adds up ala "pay it forward")... apk

why don't they (4, Insightful)

rossdee (243626) | about a year ago | (#44518965)

why don't they instead find a way to get rid of the fscking mosquitoes ?

Malaria isn't the only disease spread by them, athough it might be the biggest killer
and they affect many other parts of the world besides Africa.

Re:why don't they (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44519013)

Because then you're just yanking a Jenga block out of the middle of the food chain.

Re:why don't they (1)

hackertourist (2202674) | about a year ago | (#44519071)

They're doing both. The Gates Foundation also funds Nathan Myhrvold's company which is developing a laser-based system that shoots down mosquitoes [ted.com] (a must-see video, by the way, FF to the end for actual video of the system at work). They've spent $ 2 Billion [gatesfoundation.org] so far.

Re:why don't they (1)

jsepeta (412566) | about a year ago | (#44519191)

but only rich Americans can afford Mosquito Lasers.

Re:why don't they (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44519355)

how do you shoot down lots of free flying mosquitoes with lasers without blinding people?

Re:why don't they (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44520185)

That's what the $ 2 Billion is for...

to pay for the eye surgeries.

Re:why don't they (2)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about a year ago | (#44519493)

Now, if only they'd stop making patent trolling using shell companies (e.g. Lodsys, a shell company of Intellectual Ventures, which has attacked hundreds, if not thousands, of app developers for using in-app payments) their primary business, I might actually like Intellectual Ventures.

Re:why don't they (1, Troll)

wiredog (43288) | about a year ago | (#44519159)

They did. DDT works wonders for getting rid of mosquitos.

Also birds, fish, beneficial insects, etc.

Re:why don't they (1)

Megane (129182) | about a year ago | (#44519691)

DDT is the only way to get rid of them? The birds, fish, etc. were having problems because of the DDT itself getting into the environment and food chain. If the mosquitoes can be made to simply disappear, there is no food chain problem. So unless you can name a species that exclusive eats mosquitoes, you're talking crap.

Re:why don't they (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44519945)

Ditto for the neonicotinoids that you may remember from recent news about dying bees.
No bees = no fruits & no birds = no food for many animals, including us.

Getting rid of mosquitos is hard (1)

sjbe (173966) | about a year ago | (#44519941)

why don't they instead find a way to get rid of the fscking mosquitoes ?

You think that idea hasn't occurred to anyone [factsanddetails.com] ? They haven't done it because it is REALLY hard, and really expensive and given the political instability in parts of Africa as well as the geography not really feasible. We did it in the US in part through the use of DDT which turned out to be a pretty bad idea in the long run.

Are you happy now, Bill? (2)

wynterwynd (265580) | about a year ago | (#44518991)

Now that malaria is on its way out, can Google float its Wi-Fi balloons without taking any more shit from you?

Could a 100% effective vaccine eradicate malaria? (3, Interesting)

starless (60879) | about a year ago | (#44518993)

My attempts at googling the answer to this have not been successful, so I ask here... (crazy, I know).
Anyway, if there was a ~100% effective vaccine taken by almost everyone, would that eradicate malaria itself, or
could the malaria parasite continue to exist?
i.e. are humans a vital part of the life cycle of the malaria-causing parasites?

Thanks!

Re:Could a 100% effective vaccine eradicate malari (1)

pauljlucas (529435) | about a year ago | (#44519539)

Anyway, if there was a ~100% effective vaccine taken by almost everyone, would that eradicate malaria itself, or could the malaria parasite continue to exist?

The latter since malaria does not require humans in particular as part of its life cycle.

Banning DDT was a huge mistake (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44519007)

Malaria has killed more people than all the bombs dropped in World War II combined. It didn't have to be this way were it not for the rank prejudice of the left-wing environmentalists in the western world. DDT was unethically fed to prisoners and was found to be non-carcinogenic.

Re:Banning DDT was a huge mistake (1)

Eunuchswear (210685) | about a year ago | (#44519723)

DDT was unethically fed to prisoners and was found to be non-carcinogenic.

And everything that doesn't cause cancer is good.

Population Problems (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44519055)

I know that everyone thinks this is a great idea and all, and it's nice to have less suffering in the world, but we are slowly removing more and more of the things that keep the human population in check. We already have a population issue - this is just going to make it even worse over time.

Can these vaccines come with a chemical castration component as well?

Re:Population Problems (2)

Alejux (2800513) | about a year ago | (#44519135)

So you think a good way to control the population is to let a bunch of poor people die from a horrible disease? Including children? For f*** sake, please help the population control and kill yourself.

Re:Population Problems (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44520105)

I know that everyone thinks this is a great idea and all, and it's nice to have less suffering in the world, but we are slowly removing more and more of the things that keep the human population in check. We already have a population issue - this is just going to make it even worse over time.

Contraception is a more humane solution to that. For example condoms should be cheap enough to distribute them everywhere.

*grabs more crackers from the paper bag and continues to feed the troll*

Paul Ehrlich, anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44519133)

Where are the population control people on this one? [crickets, katydids, frogs] Since the greatest percentage of malaria victims are in Sub-Saharan Africa, any talk about the issue is already pre-charged with the "R" word.

Re:Paul Ehrlich, anyone? (1)

jsepeta (412566) | about a year ago | (#44519197)

when there are too many people for the land, suffering will ensue.

1493 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44519257)

On a related note, I highly recommend the book 1493, which talks at length about the impacts of malaria on North and South America starting in the 16th century. Malaria was very widespread on (what is now) the east coast of the US, for example, and that disease played a major role in fostering the slave trade, as people from Africa were largely immune to the disease once they survived encounters with it as children.

great (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44519401)

just what this planet needs, a way to keep even more brown people from dying.

I hate to say it, but... (2)

pauljlucas (529435) | about a year ago | (#44519573)

If they're successful at eradicating malaria in the developing world, they're also going to have to do something about birth control since the population will explode due to malaria no longer killing people off. The developing world can't even handle the population it already has in terms of food, potable water, and sanitation.

Re:I hate to say it, but... (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about a year ago | (#44519977)

So we shouldn't eradicate deadly diseases? WTF are you getting at? Maybe people in the developing world should just roll over and die because they have no reason to live?

It's why it's called the DEVELOPING world. There is a big cost associated with these diseases too. The large number of children per family is part of that cost.

This is the family of man. We are all in the same boat (the Earth). The sooner we recognize this and pull together the sooner Man will be able to move on towards fuller realization of the potential of every man, and the great progress of the human race that is possible.

Re:I hate to say it, but... (1)

pauljlucas (529435) | about a year ago | (#44520039)

WTF are you getting at?

Re-read my post. I said what I'm getting at: they have to do a better job of birth control, i.e., providing condoms and actually getting people to use them, the catholic church not withstanding.

So then what? (2)

argStyopa (232550) | about a year ago | (#44519619)

OK then let's step up to the "hard questions" then.

Let's assume that tomorrow we invent a super vaccine that cures the worst diseases in the world; according to WHO, Malaria, Tuberculosis, and HIV/AIDS kills 5.4 million people every year.
Simultaneously, let's assume that we've somehow solved the world's food distribution problems.

What then?

I know it sounds callous to say so, but that's probably why this difficult question never gets seriously addressed: if the bulk of the people dying to disease and starvation didn't, isn't the result just ... MORE starvation, conflict, and misery?

I don't have an answer.

Re:So then what? (1)

krovisser (1056294) | about a year ago | (#44519801)

We'll cross that bridge when we get to it. ...in America.

Re:So then what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44520277)

Then we must limit the growth of the population by means of more rigorous use of birth control.

Another excuse for FUD (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44519917)

...Because intelligence services love sending people to remote areas of the globe who obviously don't belong there under the pretense of providing vaccinations.

Here's to Hoping (1)

TFlan91 (2615727) | about a year ago | (#44519931)

that the vaccine won't be patented.

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