Flying Vaccinators


A genetically modified mosquito that vaccinates as it bites and could help prevent the spread of malaria, has been developed by Japanese scientists.

An insect producing a natural vaccine protein in its saliva has been created by the research team, which is injected into the bloodstream when it bites.

According to the reports of dailymail. co. uk, the “prototype” mosquito carries a vaccine against Leishmania, another potentially fatal parasite disease spread by sand flies.

Leishmania infection can cause painful sores, fever and weight loss and if untreated may destroy the liver and spleen.

It was further revealed by the findings that mice bitten by the vaccinating insect generated antibodies against the Leishmania organism, indicating immunization.

Study leader professor Shigeto Yoshida, from Jichi Medical University in Shimotsuki, Japan, said, “Following bites, protective immune responses are induced, just like a conventional vaccination but with no pain and no cost. What’s more, continuous exposure to bites will maintain high levels of protective immunity, through natural boosting, for a life time. So the insect shifts from being a pest to being beneficial.”

He further added that ethical considerations may also get in the way of using “flying vaccinators” to control malaria. (With Inputs from Agencies)

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