Dutch Scientists Test Malaria Vaccine Delivery … Through Mosquitoes

mosquito A lab at Radboud University in the Netherlands uses mosquitoes to deliver a specialized malaria vaccine. Although the experiment was carried out only on a small scale (25 volunteers), the evidence points to being on the right track. The vaccine involves modifying the parasites that cause malaria, then infecting mosquitoes. These mosquitoes then bite humans, conferring immunity.

Because immunity to malaria is conferred through long and multiple exposures, scientists administered chloroquine to volunteers who allowed themselves to be bitten by mosquitoes carrying the vaccine. Eventually, the volunteers were taken off cholorquine, and although those in the control group got sick, all of the vaccinated victims remained healthy.

A lab in Rockville, MD, USA is already developing a commercial version of the delivery mechanism, using live parasites that have been irradiated to weaken them.

Update: Here’s the write-up in the New England Journal of Medicine (link courtesy of @Vanstokkom).

(Photo Credit: edans via flickr)

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About the author: Theresa Carpenter Sondjo is an entrepreneur and web developer. She lives in Cotonou, where she and her partner run People Online. Their mission is simple: la mise en ligne du Bénin. Follow her on Twitter at @theresac.
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