Genetically modified mosquitoes vaccinate a human
A box full of genetically modified mosquitos successfully vaccinated a human against malaria in a trial funded by the National Institute of Health (NIH).
The study involved about 200 hungry mosquitos biting a human subject’s arm. Human participants placed their arms directly over a small box full of the bloodsuckers.
“We use the mosquitoes like they’re 1,000 small flying syringes,” said researcher Dr. Sean Murphy, as reported by NPR.
Three to five “vaccinations” took place over 30-day intervals.
The mosquitos gave minor versions of malaria that didn’t make people sick, but gave them antibodies. Efficacy from the antibodies lasted a few months.
“Half of the individuals in each vaccine group did not develop detectable P. falciparum infection, and a subset of these individuals was subjected to a second CHMI 6 months later and remained partially protected. These results support further development of genetically attenuated sporozoites as potential malaria vaccines,” researchers concluded.
Carolina Reid was one of twenty-six participants in the study.
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