For a decade, a company from the UK called SEEK has been developing a vaccine called AGS-v, which- they claim- makes a person immune to all the diseases a mosquito can carry. But better than just that, it weaponizes people. “Every mosquito that bites a SEEK-vaccinated human would either die young or not be able to reproduce. The company is now launching a small human clinical trial of the vaccine, with the help of the US National Institutes of Health (NIH),” reports the article.
To date, vaccines that combat a single mosquito-borne disease have not proven to be as effective as we need them to be but that’s how the SEEK vaccine is different. Rather than inoculate against a particular disease, it gives people an immune system that recognizes mosquito saliva. Therefore, when a mosquito bites and leaves some of its saliva in a human, “the immune system acts like it would to an allergy and kills off any disease-carrying microbes that enter with the bite.”
Though the results of SEEK’s animal studies were not made public, preliminary tests were strong enough to meet the NIH’s strict guidelines for starting a human clinical trial. The upcoming clinical trial will use 60 people and it will be a randomized test.
From the article:
“A mosquito’s saliva is a cocktail of proteins. We don’t know what the function of each protein is, but, primarily, they let the insects drink a satisfying blood meal by modulating their prey’s pain signals and preventing blood clotting. Some disease-carrying pathogens inside a mosquito have found ways of using some of these proteins to their aid. For instance, a chikungunya-like virus is more dangerous when delivered along with mosquito saliva than on its own.What do you think? Would you be willing to let them jab you to kill off mosquitos? What if it were to work and slowly the mosquito population started to die off? What would bats and birds eat? With every single one of our grand actions, there is an equal (and potentially problematic) and opposite reaction.
SEEK’s vaccine was created using four proteins commonly found in mosquitoes. In studies done on mice, rats, and dogs, the company found that, if already exposed to these proteins, the animals were much less likely to get the disease from an infected mosquito. Specifically, the vaccine worked against dengue, yellow fever, and malaria.”