According to reports, Chinese researchers are looking at a method for dispersing vaccines via mosquito bites. Although the experiment was done on animals, it is clear and concerning that humans could still be exposed.
A report from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, which was cited by The South China Morning Post (SCMP) on Wednesday, revealed a plan to release genetically altered mosquitoes into the wild where they would bite animals to elicit a “strong, long-lasting immunological response.”
The Zika virus, which caused such a viral panic in the late 2010s before another organism arose from Wuhan, China, to wreak havoc throughout the globe, was the focus of the paper’s authors’ experiments to make animal subjects more immune to viral infections.
The Aedes aegypti mosquito, a global pest that breeds in wetlands everywhere, including the United States, is the main carrier of the Zika virus. Brazil experienced a particularly severe Zika outbreak, where expectant mothers worried that a mosquito bite could cause birth deformities or miscarriage due to the infection.
Over the past ten years, there have been several ideas to combat Zika that included genetically altering mosquitoes, typically with the goal of neutering them and forcing the populations to collapse when they ceased reproducing.
The Chinese researchers effectively merged Zika with another virus known as Chaoyang or CYV, which flourishes in mosquitoes but is incapable of infecting larger animals, to create a harmless hybrid virus that deceives animals’ immune systems into believing they have contracted Zika. Without ever getting sick, the animals would then build immunity to Zika and kindred infections.
The Chinese Academy of Sciences team, according to the report quoted by the SCMP, fed mosquitoes blood laced with the inactive CYV-Zika hybrid, which led to the mosquitoes biting lab mice and transmitting the virus to them through the saliva. The mice produced helpful antibodies that lasted for over five months, which allowed them to survive the research team’s injection of ordinarily lethal amounts of Zika virus. Additionally, after being bitten by mosquitoes that carried the virus, the mice did not “clean” the insects with the virus.
To mimic natural settings, “each mouse was bitten up to three times by 30 distinct mosquitoes,” the SCMP reported. This exposure is comparable to what a person would experience if they played tennis for 30 minutes on a summer afternoon in Florida.
The Chinese researchers planned to use its mosquito injection method for the “protection of endangered wildlife, such as ruffled grouse affected by West Nile virus,” as well as for “prevention of zoonotic illnesses infecting domestic animals and humans.”
The consequence is that wild animals would receive vaccines via mosquitoes, protecting them from contracting diseases that could infect humans. Chinese researchers consistently assert that this is how the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic started while having a tremendous amount of difficulty providing proof. The coronavirus was allegedly produced by the U.S. Army at a lab at Ft. Detrick, Maryland, and spread to China either by American service members or frozen fish products, according to the Chinese government.
The idea of Chinese researchers releasing clouds of virus-carrying mosquitoes from their notoriously unsafe laboratories would generate considerable worry both inside and outside of China. Mosquitoes have resolutely rejected all pleas to desist from biting humans.
Because of a series of scandals involving the pharmaceutical business, Beijing’s most vulnerable people had a difficult time being persuaded to accept vaccinations. This is one of the main causes of this difficulty.
The Japanese scientists sent clouds of pet mosquitoes to bite lab mice dozens of times, similar to the recent Chinese experiment published by the South China Morning Post, and declared themselves satisfied with the rate of vaccine transfer. Worldwide experts praised the experiment as a “fascinating proof of concept” and discussed the possibility of immunizing wild animals with mosquitoes, but they were reluctant to use “flying syringes” on people.