Humans give malaria to mosquitoes – we need a vaccine to stop this
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
On Wednesday, the world marks World Mosquito Day to commemorate the 1897 discovery by British doctor Sir Ronald Ross that malaria in people is transmitted to and from mosquitoes. Ross won a Nobel prize for his discovery, and, since then, mosquitoes have been enemy No 1 when it comes to defeating a disease that takes a life every single minute – most of them children in sub-Saharan Africa.
But on this day, let’s focus on approaching malaria in a surprising new way: a vaccine to stop humans from giving malaria to mosquitoes.
If we can do this, we may finally stop malaria once and for all.
Why protect mosquitoes from humans? First, you have to understand the vicious cycle of malaria, which works like this: a mosquito bites a girl and transmits the malaria parasite, perhaps causing her to become very sick. A week later, a non-infected mosquito feeds on the same child, yet this time, it is the girl who passes the parasite to the mosquito. Soon, that mosquito – now carrying malaria parasites and buzzing around the same area – bites the girl’s father, passing the parasite to him.