Could mosquitoes deliver malaria vaccines?
While the idea of using an army of mosquitos to administer vaccines has been considered, we would first need to find a vaccine for malaria.
Asked by: John Leslie Boden, Northampton
Unfortunately, there is no vaccine against malaria, despite decades of intense research and development. More than 20 potential malaria vaccines are in their trial phases though, which aim to efficiently eliminate certain stages of the life cycle of Plasmodium – the malaria-causing parasite that some mosquitoes carry and inadvertently infect us with. There has been a proof-of-concept study that shows mosquitoes could deliver a candidate vaccine through their saliva, but how much they deliver depends on how many times they bite someone, so delivering the right dose of a vaccine would be incredibly challenging.