The book A Brief History of the Future suggests that in the next 50 years millions of infertile male mosquitoes would be released to reduce the population, and therefore drastically reduce the incidence of mosquito-borne diseases.
In addition, by replacing the disease-causing organisms injected by their bites with antivirals, mosquitoes can be used to actually immunise the people they bite against an array of diseases. Thus turning them from killers into life-savers.
It's a great idea, but can it become a reality?
On the other hand, some scientists are going even further. The mosquito has complex mouth parts to enable it to penetrate the skin, prevent the blood clotting, and drink the blood. Yet most people don’t even know they’ve been bitten until the itching starts.
No one likes having injections, so what if we could make needles less painful? A BBC podcast reports that scientists have studied the mouth parts and created a needle to mimic them. The needle is made of silicon and is very tiny. Like the mosquito, it has many parts and also vibrates to make insertion easier.
By adding a tiny sack to the mechanism, blood can be collected and analysed immediately or taken to a lab. This could also be used to inject into the skin. Couple this with a cholesterol sensor for patients at risk of heart problems, or insulin sensor for diabetes, and the small apparatus could be worn permanently to monitor and correct as needed.
Ann Marie Thomas is the author of four medieval history books, a surprisingly cheerful poetry collection about her 2010 stroke, and the science fiction series Flight of the Kestrel. Book one, Intruders, and book two Alien Secrets, are out now. Follow her at http://eepurl.com/bbOsyz