U.S. reports malaria vaccine breakthrough

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U.S. researchers reported a breakthrough Thursday in the search for a vaccine for malaria, the mosquito-borne disease that sickens millions worldwide.


More than three dozen volunteers received multiple, intravenous doses of a vaccine produced with a weakened form of the disease, scientists from the National Institutes of Health, the Navy, Army and other organizations reported Thursday.

Though the results were promising, more extensive field testing will be required, the researchers wrote. Nevertheless, the it marks the first time any vaccine trial has shown 100% success in protecting subjects from the mosquito-borne tropical disease, which sickens more than 200 million a year and killed about 660,000 in 2010.

Dr. William Schaffner, head of the preventive medicine department at Vanderbilt University's medical school, called the results "a scientific advance" — but cautioned that it's "not ready yet for prime time."

Written By: Matt Smith and William Hudson
continue to source article at cnn.com

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    • In reply to #2 by SGde3a:

      Interesting to note that the makers of these wont even use them on their own children.

      Interesting how you think that testing on children in this situation would be considered ethical.

    • In reply to #2 by SGde3a:

      Interesting to note that the makers of these wont even use them on their own children.

      The people who produce tried and true vaccines most certainly do. It’s the vaccines under development, the vaccines that need more testing and tweaking, that aren’t used on children or the general population. Just like anything else…

      • In reply to #6 by Magorian:

        In reply to #2 by SGde3a:

        Interesting to note that the makers of these wont even use them on their own children.

        The people who produce tried and true vaccines most certainly do. It’s the vaccines under development, the vaccines that need more testing and tweaking, that aren’t used on children or…

        Except homeopathy. Weren’t homeopaths providing malaria protection and treatments a little while ago (they may still be doing it for all I know)?

    • Alarming to think that your perspective of the progression of testing vaccines somehow goes to the scientist’s children.

      In reply to #2 by SGde3a:

      Interesting to note that the makers of these wont even use them on their own children.

  1. There is also the possibility of using specially bred and released genetically modified male mosquitoes to mate with wild females to produce self-destructing larvae, as has been done with other mosquito species to reduce the spread of Dengue fever.

    http://keysmosquito.org/modified-mosquito-release/

      1. What are the benefits of using Oxitec mosquitoes over other control methods?

    There are several benefits:

    This approach has the potential to reduce the Aedes aegypti population to a level below which disease is not transmitted. The Aedes aegypti mosquito is well adapted to live with humans in the urban environment; it bites in the day and lays eggs in a wide variety of breeding sites. Aedes is particularly difficult and costly to control using conventional methods such as insecticides because of the difficulty of finding and treating both adults and larval breeding sites.

    It is a method of biological control and is likely to be less costly and more effective than using humans with chemical sprays or fogging devices to kill the biting females. The technique harnesses the natural instinct of the male mosquito to actively seek female mosquitoes of its own species.

    It is an environmentally friendly approach. No toxic chemicals are used in our approach. The sterile mosquitoes released will only mate with their own species; so off-target effects are minimised; this is far better specificity than an insecticide. “Off-target effects” are effects on species other than the intended target, in this case Aedes aegypti; in other contexts this might be called collateral damage. The potential indirect effects, e.g. the ecological consequences of successfully suppressing the target population, appear minimal and are discussed further below.

    The released Oxitec sterile male mosquitoes cannot bite or spread disease. Only female mosquitoes bite (to obtain nutrients for egg production); male mosquitoes are incapable of biting

    It also reduces the threat of chikungunya and yellow fever which are also spread by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes

      1. What are the likely impacts on the environment and on humans?

    The main impact on human health will be to reduce the number of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes that can spread dengue.

    There is no permanent change to the wild mosquito population and therefore unlikely to have any impact on the environment compared to the currently used alternatives.

    Aedes aegypti is not originally native to Key West, though it has been present on and off in the last few decades. It is not an important (“keystone”) species; there are no birds, fish or other insects that depend on it, e.g. feed exclusively on it, nor does it perform services like pollinating flowers. Therefore, reducing the number of Aedes aegypti is most unlikely to have any negative impact on the environment. The released mosquitoes will die in the environment and the transgene will rapidly disappear from the environment followin cessation of releases, as it kills progeny that inherit it, so this is a ‘self limiting’ approach. In other words there is no permanent change to the wild mosquito population.

    The main impact will be to reduce the number of Aedes aegypti females that bite and spread disease.

    There is no threat to humans from the sterile male mosquitoes that are released as male mosquitoes do not bite or spread disease. (The possibility and (lack of) consequences of exposure to engineered female mosquitoes are discussed further below.)

      1. What is actually killing the mosquito larvae/ what genetic modification has been made?

    The gene that has been introduced into the mosquito inhibits the cell’s ability to function normally.

    We’ve introduced a gene into the mosquitoes which stops their cells from functioning normally. This gene is able to act as a switch to control the activity of other genes. In the modified insects, expression of this gene ties up some of the cell’s essential machinery, and stops other mosquito genes being expressed correctly. As a result, the mosquitoes can’t develop properly and die before becoming adults. If the larvae are given tetracycline, this stops the effect and so tetracycline acts as an antidote. But the insects can’t access the antidote in the right quantities in the environment, so when they are released the lethality factor is activated and the offspring will not reach adulthood. Because our solution works inside the mosquito’s cells, it is non-toxic: unlike the pesticides commonly used today, it doesn’t affect other insects and won’t harm birds or other animals which might eat the mosquitoes. A fluorescent marker gene has also been incorporated into the mosquito that makes them easy to identify.

      1. Once the sterilized mosquitoes have mated with the wild female Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, what happens to them? Do they just die off?

    Yes. Aedes aegypti is a relatively short-living species. Adult males can live up to around 10 days in the wild. In the laboratory, under ideal conditions, they can live a bit longer, even in extreme cases only up to a month.

    http://www.oxitec.com/oxitec-video/more-on-the-science-how-does-oxitec-make-genetically-modified-mosquitoes/

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