It's not the mosquito's fault. Malaria is actually caused by the Plasmodium family of parasites, which is carried unwittingly by mosquitoes. And these parasites are tricky foes. Come up with a treatment or vaccine and the few that survive will still breed. But Johns Hopkins biologist Rhoel Dinglasan thinks he may have a way around that: vaccinating mosquitoes instead.
Dinglasan's team has found that Plasmodium—at a crucial stage in its life cycle—needs to bind to a protein in the mosquito's gut called AnAPN1. If you block this protein, you block transmission to humans. But how do you treat a mosquito? A teensy needle and steady hands? No. Here's the clever part: You give people a vaccine against AnAPN1, turning them into living mosquito-treatment factories for years; their immune systems produce antibodies against AnAPN1. When mosquitoes bite vaccinated people, they'll suck up the antibodies, which block AnAPN1 so that the mosquitoes can no longer pass along the disease. In lab tests, Dinglasan has shown that the antibodies can indeed make mosquitoes benign—although no less annoying.
Give someone the vaccine against the mosquito-gut protein AnAPN1.
The person's immune system produces antibodies against AnAPN1 in his blood.
A mosquito ingests the antibodies, which bind to AnAPN1 and block the malaria-causing parasite Plasmodium.
Plasmodium can't live in the mosquito gut and, therefore, can't be transmitted to people.
This article originally appeared in the September 2013 issue of Popular Science.
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You forgot step five ... convincing the anti-vaccs that it won't cause autism in mosquitoes.
That cost of infrastructure is close to 60 trillion in a nation the size of the US. Plumbing is not cheap or free, but I think it can be. If all we did was put a screw pattern on the top and bottom of bottles and barrels they could be recycled for free into plumbing directing clean water to wash and dirty water to cesspool before reentering the river systems, just like in the US and Europe. The ultimate recycling, clean water made from old plastics.