Yale School of Medicine researchers work to develop vaccine on more tick, mosquito-borne illnesses
As more tick and mosquito-borne illness cases crop up in the U.S., researchers at Yale School of Medicine are looking to make a vaccine that will target those diseases.
Most vaccines available to us usually target a pathogen or microbe, but there are many infectious diseases that are transmitted by vectors.
"Such as ticks or mosquitos. What we're trying to do is develop ways that those vectors don't feed on you so efficiently and cannot transmit diseases," said Erol Fikrig, a professor and researcher at Yale University School of Medicine.
Currently, it has only been proven to protect against Lyme disease, but they are aiming to cover more ground.
"Anaplasmosis, babesiosis, Powassan and others. We're hopeful that it might extend to other diseases, but we just don't know yet," Fikrig said.
While ticks tend to hang onto their victims for a while, mosquito bites happen much quicker.
"When it bites you, it secretes saliva into your skin and that saliva modifies the environment and it makes more permissive for pathogens to infect you," Fikrig explained.
With this vaccine, the hope is it would resist the effects a mosquito bite can cause.
"To block the capacity of mosquito saliva to alter the environment in your skin and by doing so reduce their capacity to transmit diseases," he said.
Fikrig said their work is in the early stages and so far, they have only held experiments on animals. They have not done work on humans yet.