December 8, 2022

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Scientists are trying to get mosquitoes to deliver vaccines to humans

Scientists are trying to get mosquitoes to deliver vaccines to humans



 

Scientists are trying to get mosquitoes to deliver vaccines to humans.

Scientists have successfully turned one of the deadliest insects into a vaccine delivery system.

A clinical trial of a system designed to use mosquitoes to deliver vaccines is already underway in the UK, according to a new report from NPR.

The results of the trial have been published in Science Translational Medicine.

 

 

According to the paper, scientists were able to genetically modify the parasite to deliver a malaria vaccine through mosquito bites.

Using mosquitoes to deliver vaccines is an interesting proposition. That sounds terrifying on paper, and it’s even more terrifying when you see the photos from NPR’s report on the trial.

 

The photos, which can be seen in the original report, show the results of trial participants being bitten hundreds of times.

To achieve the desired effect of delivering the vaccine to mosquitoes, scientists loaded them with a genetically modified parasite called Plasmodium falciparum.

In the past, scientists have tried to do something similar. However, this is the first time this has been done using CRISPR.

 

The result is basically like 1,000 small flying syringes, one researcher told NPR.

And according to photos in the same report, it did appear to be, as one image showed a participant’s arm completely covered in scars from a mosquito bite.

The biggest problem with using mosquitoes to deliver malaria vaccines, though, is effectiveness.

 

 

 

According to the study’s results, 14 of the 26 participants who were exposed to malaria contracted the disease.

That means the mosquito’s vaccine delivery system is only about 50 percent effective. However, that doesn’t mean it’s a failure — it just means that some improvements need to be made.

It’s also important to realize that scientists aren’t planning to release swarms of genetically modified mosquitoes either.

 

 

 

Instead, they wanted to use the mosquitoes to deliver the vaccine in a more controlled way.

The researchers told NPR that releasing large numbers of these mosquitoes is an interesting proposition.

But doing so raises very deep questions about medical consent and bioethics because they have no control over who gets vaccinated and exposed.

 

More details:

https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2022/09/21/1112727841/a-box-of-200-mosquitoes-did-the-vaccinating-in-this-malaria-trial-thats-not-a-jo 

 

 

Scientists are trying to get mosquitoes to deliver vaccines to humans

(source:internet, reference only)


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