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Mosquito Spit Vaccine to Treat Malaria, Zika and Nile Virus

Update Date: Feb 22, 2017 08:53 PM EST

Doctors are trying to test a vaccine to protect people from insect-borne spreading diseases like Zika virus and yellow fever. The vaccine will target mosquito saliva to be able to prevent mosquito bites and stop viruses and parasites from starting an infection.

NBC News reports about the latest experiments on mosquito saliva and the possibilities to creating a vaccine against insect bite and insect-borne diseases using this compound. Every year, the mosquito-borne disease kills hundreds of thousands of people. World Health Organization data reveals that in 2015 alone, 438,000 people died from malaria. Mosquitos are spreaders of diseases such as the Zika virus, Yellow fever, Dengue, West Nile virus, Japanese encephalitis, and Chikungunya.

Although there is a yellow fever vaccine available nowadays, the supply is very minimal. The same mosquitos that spread yellow fever also spread Zika, dengue, and other viruses. Malaria, on the other hand, is carried by different mosquitoes.

These insects are known to be the cause of more human diseases and death compared to any other animal. If the mosquito spit based vaccine becomes effective, it would be a monumental public health achievement.

On other news, Zika virus remains to be a growing threat globally especially in the US as reported by ABC News. Officials at the Washington DC public health lab are already retesting hundreds of samples from people in the area due to the growing concerns for Zika virus. The testing that is being conducted at the District of Columbia Department of Forensic Sciences Public Health Laboratory is identifying technical issues with the Zika tests conducted last December 2016. Out of the 409 specimens originally tested as negative, which includes 294 samples from pregnant women are being retested.

Meanwhile, the vaccine, called AGS-v is being developed by Imutex Ltd together with a joint venture with London-based pharmaceutical company SEEK and a company called hVIVO. The synthetic proteins from the salivary glands of the mosquito are being used to formulate the vaccine.

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