Malaria finds its nemesis in a robot
Malaria has probably found its nemesis in a robot. Dr. Stephen Hoffman, owner of the biotech company Sanaria, is on the verge of making history by developing ‘SpoRobot’, a droid that will help him to formulate malaria vaccine. Hoffman has even launched a crowd funding website to raise money for this project.
Media reports about the impending launch of Hoffman’s malaria vaccine created waves on the social media. His son advised him to hold an Ask Me Anything (AMA) session on Reddit to know what people are thinking about his malaria vaccine. The idea to develop a robot and use it to make malaria vaccine came to Hoffman’s mind after interacting with a large group of Redditors during a 3 hour long AMA.
According to Hoffman, SpoRobot, with its ability to extract salivary glands from mosquitoes with greater efficiency, will facilitate the process of malaria vaccine formulation. He said that at present a staff researcher can dissect only 160 mosquitoes in an hour and added that having a robot means that it will work 24/7 and dissect 20 to 30 times more mosquitoes every day. What’s more, the robot will require much less training than the human researchers.
Initially, Hoffman had plans to get the robot funded through a government grant. However, that plan didn’t work for some reason and he had to set up a crowd funding site. His current goal is raising $250,000, which according to him, would be enough to build the mosquito dissecting droid.
Malaria causes thousands of deaths every year; statistics offered by the World Health Organization suggest that the year 2013 saw over 600,000 dying from malaria. So, if Hoffman’s experiment shows real results, it would be a big boon for the world.