It never gets any play in the West, because unlike AIDS pretty much no one in this country suffers from it, but malaria kills an awful lot of people every year, primarily in Africa. What’s more, the need to treat malaria is a non-trivial source of new HIV infections through the blood transfusion process. In that light, the news that a functioning malaria vaccine has been discovered counts as some very, very, very good news. If you read the story, you’ll see that this isn’t exactly the most foolproof vaccine science has ever come up with, but it could still save hundreds of thousands of lives each year. I assume, in addition, that progressing from this point toward a more effective vaccine is probably a less challenging endeavor than coming up with something in the first place.
Of course, there is one thing that Matt fails to mention- there already is an effective way to handle malaira. it is cheap, effective, and would save hundreds of thousands of lives. What is this miracle?
Why, DDT, of course.
Can’t have that…chemicals are baaaad. Nevermind that everything is made up of chemicals, these are just baaaaad.
Come on, John, the new vaccine is good news!
For the trial lawyers who will make millions on the statistical outliers who react badly and eventually lead to a ban on the malaria vaccine for everyone and a return to death and danger for normal humans, but a return to more wealth for trial lawyers.
I thought DDT wasn’t used because mosquitos became immune to it. Is that true? Does anyone know otherwise?
They can become resistant to it, but that is not why it is banned.
Actually, Yglesias would agree with you. He may be a liberal, but he HATES the environment.
Mosquites cannot become resistant to DDT. Neither can any other insect. It is one of the reasons the inventors of DDT got a Nobel Prize for it.
However, if DDT is used in certain ways (such as sprayed only on the interior walls od dwellings, in order to take advantage of the fact that mosquitoes head for the nearest vertical surface to hang and rest after feeding) natural selection may, after time, produce mosquites that prefer to rest on the ceiling. So then you spray the ceiling, too. (No solution is perfect!)
For a detailed look at the scientific shame that is the DDT ban, check here.
I agree wholeheartedly on the issue of Malaria. In Africa, it is a worse problem than HIV. DDT would most certainly help to alleviate the problem, and given the hindsight of past experience, they could use it more judicially, thus reducing the environmental impact.
Correction to the above: apparently, insects can develop resistance to DDT under certain limited circumstances, although it is not a 100% resistance. But it remains the best pesticide ever created.
Mosquetos and other insects can become resistant to DDT and other pesticides, and this is a major problem in many areas. The supports of DDT, like Steven Milloy, are simply dishonest. Reading his junk you would think that the EPA imposed a global ban on DDT, when it actually was only in the United States, where there was no malaria problem.
THe DDT ban will never be lifted, the Church of Religious Environmentalism will never allow the lift. No matter how many millions die, junk science will be worshipped as the all-supreme God.
That said, maybe embryonic stem-cell research will be able to cure maleria?
Maybe malaria isn’t a problem in the United States BUT there is a thing out there called West Nile disease, a killer transmitted by mosquito bites.
DDT is not a cure-all, any organism can develop an immunity to a toxin over time, the malaria parasite being an excellent illustration of just that fact.
It DOES mean that certain wetlands would have to be drained and the mosquito population aggressively controlled, which gets the Greenie Meanies in a snit.
Hey i,ll bet this DDT news will have all the enviromental dweebs crying SILENT SPRING over and over the trouble with this is that RACHEL CARSON used junk science throughout the whole book and the thinning of bird eggs was not from DDT but from other factors why else do farmers feed the chickens on oyster shell? it make the egg shells stronger