Mosquitoes successfully used as vaccinators in new malaria trial

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One Seattle morning, Carolina Reid sat in a room with nine other volunteers, each waiting to take part in a clinical trial for a new, experimental malaria vaccine.

Reid's turn came. She put her arm over a cardboard box filled with 200 mosquitoes and covered with a mesh that keeps them in but still lets them bite. "Literally a Chinese food takeout container" is how she remembers it. A scientist then covered her arm with a black cloth, because mosquitoes like to bite at night.

Then the feeding frenzy began.

"My whole forearm swelled and blistered," says Reid. "My family was laughing, asking like, 'why are you subjecting yourself to this?'" And she didn't just do it once. She did it five times.

You may be thinking – this is a joke, right?