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It's not a mosquito, it's a flying vaccine

Researchers have turned mosquitoes into flying warehouses - an article published in the journal Science


From enemy to lover? Transgenic Anopheles stephensi mosquitoes produce vaccine in their saliva.
From enemy to lover? Transgenic Anopheles stephensi mosquitoes produce vaccine in their saliva.
After all, you have research that can be filed under "not applicable but really cool"...

A group of Japanese scientists have developed a mosquito that spreads a vaccine instead of spreading disease. Even the researchers admit that the regulatory and ethical issues involved in the genetic hindrance of the reservoir mosquito will prevent these flying insects from being taken off and released from the laboratory - at least in the context of human vaccination.

Scientists have devised several ways to interfere with insect DNA to fight disease. One option is to create strains of mosquitoes that are immune to infections by parasites or viruses, so that even if they contract diseases they cannot transmit them to humans through their bite. Or another possibility is mosquitoes that are unable to transmit pathogens to humans. These insects will somehow be able to replace the natural insects that carry diseases.

Another strategy, closer to becoming a reality, is to release transgenic mosquitoes that, when mated with the wild strain of mosquitoes, will not produce live offspring. Such pairings will reduce the population of wild mosquitoes and thus reduce their harm to humans. (Transgenic mosquitoes are mosquitoes that have undergone genetic engineering)

The new research relies on a completely different mechanism: using mosquitoes as "flying warehouses". Naturally, when a mosquito sucks blood, it injects a tiny drop of saliva, which prevents the host's blood from clotting (this is because mosquito saliva contains an anticoagulant). The Japanese group decided to add an antigen - a compound that encourages an immune response - to the mixture of proteins in the mosquito's saliva.

The group was led by molecular geneticist Shigeto Yoshida from Tochigi University in Japan. The group identified a region in the genome of Anopheles stephensi - the malaria mosquito - called a promoter, which turns on (activates) genes only in the mosquito's salivary gland. That is, a gene that will be attached to this porometer will be expressed only in the mosquito's saliva. To this promoter they added SP15, a protein that is a vaccine against Leishmania - a parasitic disease spread by sandflies that can cause skin wounds and organ damage. Indeed, the transgenic mosquitoes produced SP15 in their saliva, as the group of researchers reported in the current issue of the journal "Molecular Biology". And when mosquitoes were allowed to bite mice, it turned out that these mice developed antibodies against SP15.

The antibody levels were not very high, and it is still up to the group to examine whether these antibodies protected the mice from contracting the disease. (Only a few laboratories in the world have the necessary capacity and facilities to conduct such complex studies on Leishmania disease, says Yoshida). In the experiment, the mice were bitten by the mosquitoes 1500 times on average; This number seems very high, but studies have shown that in places where malaria is aggressive and rampant, people are bitten more than 100 times a night (!) says Yoshida. Meanwhile, the group has also engineered mosquitoes that produce a candidate malaria vaccine.

Other researchers are very enthusiastic about the achievement. "The scientific use here is beautiful," says Valenzuela of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in Bethesda, Maryland. Valenzuela is the one who developed the SP15 vaccine. Obrohata, an insect molecular geneticist at the University of Maryland, calls the study "a fascinating proof of concept/idea."

If so - why don't the warehouse mosquitoes fly more? There is huge variation in the number of mosquito bites that different people receive from mosquitoes, so exposing humans to transgenic mosquitoes will lead to different people being given a different amount of vaccine. There is no way to ensure that the dosage will be appropriate; It would be almost like giving some people one measles booster and others 500 shots per person. No regulatory agency would approve such a thing. In addition, releasing the mosquitoes also means vaccinating people without their express consent and even without their knowledge, which is of course ethically prohibited. Yoshida then admits that the genetically engineered mosquitoes would be unacceptable as a mechanism for vaccinating humans. At the same time, flying warehouses, or "flying syringes" as they were called, have potential in the fight against animal diseases, Oberohta says. We do not need the consent of the animals to be vaccinated and the different amount of vaccine between animals is less of a concern in this case.

Even before releasing the genetically engineered mosquitoes to vaccinate animals, it is worthwhile to examine what will happen to the natural mosquito population that will mate with the genetically engineered mosquitoes over the generations and whether this will harm humans in the long term.

For news in Science

13 תגובות

  1. It's really excessive. Vaccines have saved hundreds of millions of people, maybe a few were harmed by the vaccine, but the overall benefit is much greater than the harm.

  2. Good Morning
    Ruling B says that they will develop immune mosquitoes, so that even if they become infected with diseases they will not pass them on.
    If they are vaccinated, how do they get infected, and more than that, if they get bitten, why wouldn't a person who gets bitten get the mosquito's disease?
    Will be happy for answers

  3. Iran passes many countries in the field of cloning, so why won't it touch this hurdle?
    It has many more scientists than Israel, that's clear...

  4. Uranium is not refined, not enriched. But regardless, this is first-rate scientific research that requires advanced money and equally advanced equipment. At least today Iran is still not in the first league.

  5. If Iran has enough money to refine uranium then there is enough money to create transgenic mosquitoes.

  6. The terrorists will not use these means because of their cost.
    And when it comes to using a mosquito net as storage, I liked the "thinking outside the box".

  7. I meant, of course, that they engineer mosquitoes to transmit extremely dangerous viruses.

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