Plasmodium vivax bench research greatly lags behind Plasmodium falciparum because of an inability to culture in vitro. A century ago, intentionally inducing a malaria infection was a strategy commonly used to cure late-stage syphilis. These controlled human malaria infections were used with expertise and persisted to the end of World War II. While controlled malaria liver-stage infection has been achieved for both P. vivax and P. falciparum, controlled human transmission to mosquitoes falls short for both species. In this issue of the JCI, Collins et al. present groundbreaking work that establishes a system to transmit P. vivax gametocytes from humans to mosquitoes. The authors injected a unique human isolate of P. vivax that reached high gametocyte density within weeks. This study provides a technical advance that will facilitate the study and eradication of the human parasite P. vivax.
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