Researchers using malaria-infected mosquitoes to unlock a cure for the disease

Researchers using malaria-infected mosquitoes to unlock a cure for the disease
Seattle medical researchers are taking an unusual approach to eradicating one of the world's deadliest diseases.

Scientists at Seattle Biomed are unleashing malaria-infected mosquitoes onto human volunteers in hopes of finding a vaccine for the disease.

After breeding their own mosquitoes in trays of stagnant water, researchers feed the insects blood infected with malaria. Those mosquitoes then bite volunteers who have been given a vaccine.

Mosquitoes transmit malaria through their salivary glands, and researches have discovered that they can remove those glands to create a vaccine.

Dr. Stefan Kappe is one on the scientists working on the project and said that while the new approach isn't exactly high tech, it might just be the key to stopping a disease that kills nearly one million people each year.

"It's a very powerful but also very simple way to see if your vaccine protects against malaria," he said.

The study, which is being funded in part by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, used infected mosquitoes on six human volunteers last year.

The early results have been positive, and Kappe hopes to have the vaccine developed in just a year or two. While that's good news for those in danger of being infected by malaria, Kappe warns that that it could take 10-15 years before a final product is licensed and available to the public.