Mosquitoes as new medical syringes
New plans to use mosquitoes as micro-syringes have been released by a leading British biotechnology company. John Soames, Chairman of the Medical Life Sciences group based in Cambridge, England, held a press conference yesterday afternoon to announce the news to the world’s media. The new technology is set to revolutionise the medical profession, allowing minuscule amounts of drugs, vaccines and serums to be injected directly into patients.
Soames said yesterday; “the amount of drugs that are administered in a typical syringe are measured in millilitres, with infusion pumps able to give as little as 0.1 ml doses.
“However, Mozzy-Nozzle™ or Hyperdermozz™ are far more sensitive and are able to inject as little as 0.01ml of fluid directly into their target. This is ideal for giving antibiotics to very specific areas of the body such as individual hair follicles or skin pores.
Another benefit of using insect-borne jabs is to remove the fear factor associated with syringes. Some 10% of the population suffer from Trypanophobia (the fear of needles) and having an insect that gives you the jab that you don’t feel until it’s too late is rather appealing.
Surgeries around the country could be rearing their own mosquito colonies as early as next year, sparking interest from insect breeders. Harry Freeman from Breed ’n’ Bite in Derby, said; “it’s come as a bit of a shock, but we’ll be trying to increase our demand as soon as we know what type of mosquito they need”.
The most likely candidate is Culex pipiens, the most common urban mosquito, and one that has been modified to have a transparent abdomen with a graduated millilitre scale for loading the insect with the correct dose (see picture right). Anopheles and Aedes species will also be used. Anopheles prefers biting in the evening while Aedes prefers to bite during the day. Both could be useful in the right environment.
Doctors are thought to have given the idea a mixed reception. Malcolm Pansey of the Garden Path walk-in clinic in Kew, London, said; “I’m not overly happy with the idea of drug-laden mosquitoes flying around my practice, but I guess it’s a sign of the times”. Gladys Smith, senior ward sister at the Brandenburg Hospital in Manchester was quoted as saying; “it’s a disgrace that we now have insects doing what humans have been doing for years”.
The “animals as doctors” debate is bound to escalate as new research into the use of tiny genetically modified electric eels as pacemakers has been given the go-ahead in Florida.