Future weapons against malaria

April 02, 2007  ·  Michael Fumento  ·  Weblog

O death, where is thy sting? Far too often it comes at the end of a mosquito's proboscis. The worst mosquito-borne disease, malaria, infects about 400 million people worldwide each year (90 percent in sub-Saharan Africa) and kills about 1.3 million of them. Compare that to the histrionics we've suffered over avian flu, which as of 2 April had infected 25 people and killed 12 this year. Or SARS, which killed 774 people worldwide before petering out.

As I write in TCS Daily, biotechnology may eventually come to the rescue. Scientists have announced they've built a better mosquito, one that doesn't become infected with the parasite that causes malaria. Ultimately, it's hoped, these mosquitoes will outbreed natural ones. A biotech malaria vaccine is also in the works. Aye, but there's the rub. A malaria vaccine has been in the works for decades. For now what we need is something that's tried and true and readily available. Yes, that means insecticides and yes that means DDT. Fortunately, pro-DDT activists are finally starting to gain the upper hand over spoiled brat environmentalists who think the deaths of black- and brown-skinned people don't count and know nothing more about DDT than that Rachel Carson made all sorts of horrible claims about it of which none have proved true.