File under “mad scientists.”
Microsoft has applied for a patent for “adapting parasites to combat disease,” as follows:
United States Patent Application: 0110010782:
Kind Code A1
Horvitz; Eric J. ; et al. January 13, 2011
ADAPTING PARASITES TO COMBAT DISEASE
Provided are systems and/or methods that facilitate sensing, detecting, logging, or treatment of a condition or need of a living body using a controlled parasite.
The patent application names a number of parasites as examples, including bed bugs:
Specific examples of alterable parasitic organisms include mosquitoes, fleas, ticks, bed bugs (Cimicidae Cimex lectularius), midges (such as Ceratopogonidae), other blood sucking arthropods, annelids or leeches, nematodes such as Ascaris lumbricoides (roundworm which typically invades the gastrointestinal tract and lungs), pinworms such as Enterobius vermicularis (gastrointestinal tract, colon, fingertips), whipworms such as Trichuris trichiuria (gastrointestinal tract), flukes or trematodes such as Fasciola hepatica, Fasciolopsis buski (intestinal fluke) and schistosomes (liver and gallbladder), tapeworms or cestodes such as those from the genus Taenia (gastrointestinal tract), hookworms, heart worms, roundworms, lice (head, body, and pubic), and the like.
As commentary, Slashdot offers the Jurassic Park analogy.
I had no idea that Microsoft were interested in this kind of bug.
Could bed bug bites be used to combat disease?
Even if they could, I rather wish that energy could be spent in eliminating bed bugs entirely.