An Oxford-based research firm has announced the results of a release of genetically modified male mosquitoes in the Cayman Islands, the first experiment with GM mosquitoes to take place in the wild.
From May to October of this year, Oxitec released male mosquitoes three times a week in a 40-acre area. The mosquitoes had been genetically modified to be sterile, so that when they mated with the indigenous female mosquitoes there would be no offspring, and the population would shrink.
Scientists at the University of Arizona have successfully bred genetically modified mosquitoes that are 100 percent resistant to the malaria parasite, rendering the mosquito incapable of infecting humans with malaria.
One of the richest men in history is spreading his wealth around again. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced its fourth round of Grand Challenges Explorations grants this week, funding 78 research projects in 18 countries on six continents with $100,000 each to pursue everything from better cell phone microscopes to stronger malaria deterrents to male contraceptive techniques.
Existing lab-on-a-chip designs can put the power of testing in the palm of your hand, but an upcoming model may represent the cheapest and most colorful one yet. A Harvard University chemist has created a prototype "chip" technology out of paper that could help diagnose HIV, malaria, tuberculosis and other diseases for just a penny each time, according to CNN.
Lasers can already track and hopefully shoot down missiles, so perhaps it was inevitable that humans would turn that power against the airborne bloodsucker threat. Scientists from the Intellectual Ventures Laboratory showed their lasers tracking mosquitoes live during the TED 2010 conference, and also unveiled the awesome laser pew-pew effect in a new video. See the smoking hot results for yourself.
Steve Jobs may have grabbed the most headlines recently with Apple's glimpse of the possible future of computing, but Bill Gates also has his sights set on bettering the world. The Microsoft founder announced that the Gates Foundation would put at least $10 billion toward vaccines that could save the lives of eight million children by 2020, the New York Times reports.
Malaria kills upwards of a million people a year, infects hundreds of millions, and significantly damages the economies of dozens of countries. Cures and prophylaxis for malaria range from bug nets to drugs to gin and tonics, but none are weirder -- or more poetically just -- than a new method that uses mosquitoes themselves to deliver a malaria vaccine.
A vaccine with a 53 percent success rate doesn’t normally call for a celebration. But when that means protecting one in every two African children from a disease that kills a kid every 30 seconds, those odds start looking better. “The impact is tremendous,” says Joe Cohen, inventor of the first malaria vaccine. “We could save hundreds of thousands of kids every year.”