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Altruistic 'cure' for malaria

We all like to think of ourselves as tolerant and compassionate. Except when it comes to mosquitoes. As soon as spring or, if you're extra lucky, summer arrives, we smash/squash/electrocute them with almost sadistic pleasure. But most of us are lucky ones and live in an area where the only consequence of a bite is a minor itch. Even after suffering through dengue-fever once I still think I'm a lucky person. Because Dutch scientist Bart Knols suffered from malaria 9 times, and almost lost his wife to the parasite. But he decided to do something about it..

His solution is currently awaiting a repurposing-patent, so I cannot give all of the details yet. But essentially all you have to do is take a flea-medicine (hence the repurposing part of the patent). Though still undergoing the numerous safety trials, the effects have been great. The medicine stays in your blood for 24 hours, and any mosquito biting you dies within 18 hours or so after biting.

Now, this won't save you from contracting malaria. But you will save someone else from this fate (plus the mosquito won't be able to reproduce). Think it through ...

What does everybody think of the concept of altruistic medication? Will it work, or will our short-term thinking nature prevent this from success?

Here is a link to the video of Bart Knols giving a TED-talk in Maastricht, where I currently study. The killing mosquitoes part starts at 7:30, but I encourage you to watch the whole thing. This guy really, really hates mosquitoes.


MORE BY Sjoerd Westenborg



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