Mosquitoes: a Cure for Malaria?

Scientist takes risks to find cure
By Victoria Floethe,  Newser User
Posted Dec 13, 2008 4:02 AM CST
Ronald Ross, winner of the 1902 Nobel Prize in medicine for his work on malaria, circa 1910.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Mosquitoes land, swap a little of your blood for parasites that head straight to your liver, and so cause a million malaria-related deaths every year, writes Jason Fagone in Esquire. But what if you took those same mosquitoes and irradiated them? You get weakened parasites that make the perfect vaccine, says a maverick doc who's not afraid to experiment on himself to rid the world of malaria.

Stephen Hoffman was at first a doubter himself: How to mass produce a vaccine made inside mosquitoes? It would be like "like baking a pie in a cow," Fagone writes. How to extract the zapped parasites? How to do it fast enough to make the required 100 million doses per year? But Hoffman has surmounting each of these obstacles, and by next month hopes to complete the final FDA safety tests that will greenlight human trials in the US and Africa.