Flying Syringes (the itchy kind)

You heard that right. I'm I'm not talking about this kind of flying syringe:

Owww! Did she sign a consent form for that???
I'm talking about this kind:

Source: Wikipedia
Shall we all give a collective "EWWWW"?

We know that mosquitoes are the vector for carrying all sorts of horrible diseases, like malaria, yellow fever, and West Nile virus. If mosquitoes are so good at delivering the bad stuff, why can't they deliver the good stuff? Such as life saving treatments to masses of people, like vaccines?

Before this turns into an ethical discussion of Ginormica proportions, let's appreciate the idea for what it is--an out-of-the-box idea that seems pretty cool, creepy, brilliant, and seemingly impossible at once. 

(Also, If it turns out that mass mandatory delivery of treatments are delivered by these little buggers, they'd better make sure those bites don't itch like the devil.)

*scratches arms like crazy*

So could this be real? Well, in 2008 Bill Gates gave out a grant to research flying syringes to Hiroyuki Matsuoka of Japan. After a quick PubMed search of the NCBI database (National Center of Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine), look what I found:

 2012 Jun;40(2):47-52. doi: 10.2149/tmh.2011-10. Epub 2012 Aug 4.

One Injection of DsRed Followed by Bites from Transgenic Mosquitoes Producing DsRed in the Saliva Elicits a High Titer of Antibody in Mice.

It's heeerrrreeeee! After only four years, Dr. Matsuoka did it. He boosted the immunity of mice against a fluorescent protein that was transgenically produced in the saliva of mosquitoes. (Is your brain spinning after that sentence? If it isn't, then *fist bump*)

Now, before you freak out and wonder if the powers in Panem are going to strike us all down and turn us into rabid flesh-eating purple wombats via flying syringes, remember. This is still WAY far away from human studies and mosquitoes are really, really bad at asking people to sign consent forms. They can't even carry pens! And they enunciate really badly. All they can say is "buzzzzzz."

Okay, you can scratch that itch now. 

7 comments:

Natalie Aguirre said...

That's interesting. I had no idea they were studying this. I think I'd rather get my immunity with a shot at the doctor's office though.

Dianne K. Salerni said...

This is actually a pretty scary thought. Hopefully it is stirring creative juices in some writer's brain though.

Hmmmm ...

I might ponder the possibilities during Recess Duty today (which is SOOOOOO boring).

Shelly said...

Wow- what they won't think of next. I will be thinking about this today...

Roland D. Yeomans said...

It also lends itself to terrible implications with bio-terrorism, too. Brrr.

Connie Keller said...

Wow. I had no idea. The implications...

Carrie Butler said...

That is all kinds of interesting (and creepy)! Thanks for sharing, Lydia. :)

Cynthia Heart Books said...

There are so many stories that can spring from a study like this. Thanks for sharing, Lydia!