Mosquito Saliva Vaccine Could Kill Two Bugs With One Stone
When a mosquito bites us, it injects the saliva it produces into our blood stream, which helps this disease spreading pest to feast on us with ease. It keeps your blood vessels dilated, which means that a mosquito can drink your blood, as easily as we can drink water! However, this ‘spit’ also primes us to be susceptible to a whole other bunch of nastiness. Here’s an article with more information.
It’s concerning that mosquito spit has such a strong effect on the immune system. But there is a way we can fight back. Scientists are developing vaccines that will combat mosquito saliva itself rather than a single virus, bacteria, or parasite. To make such a weapon possible, we’ll need to learn more about how our immune systems react to mosquito saliva.
This vaccine is not only for mosquito saliva, but also for the spit from ticks! If this method of prevention is successful, then we could be killing ‘two bugs’ with one stone!
It’s not just the mosquito bite that’s a problem. When a mosquito bites you, it also drools on you. Silke Paust is an assistant professor of pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital. “During this poking around phase, basically, and during the feeding, it automatically secretes saliva proteins,” she says. She says there are more than 100 proteins in mosquito saliva. Paust and her team found those proteins trigger a complex immune response.
At the moment, the best way to stop a mosquito from slobbering all over you, is to protect yourself. The best way to do this is of course with mosquito repellent, and to make sure that your home and yard is protected if you planning on spending time outdoors.