Last year over 600,000 people died from malaria last year, says the WHO. Malaria is still in need of a vaccine and with numbers like that, individuals like Dr. Stephen Hoffman have been working tirelessly to come up with a solution. In a recent U.S. News article, Eleanor Clift states that there have been great strides towards finding a vaccine. Dr. Stephen Hoffman, founder of Sanaria, a biotech company, has now officially put their name on IndieGoGo.com in an effort to have crowd funding be the source of a machine that will be able to increase efficiency of extracting salivary glands from mosquitoes which will directly contribute to the possible vaccine. “SpoRobot” as this machine is called could make the process 20 to 30 times faster than it currently is, which sits at about 160 mosquitoes an hour getting their glands extracted by staff researchers. The robot would also not require as much training, meaning more individuals could be hired equalling more mosquitoes per hour and ultimately more lives saved.
Hoffman put his mission on IndieGoGo.com after trying to apply for a government grant. Stating that two years ago, when the proposal was first initialized, “SpoRobot” hit the mark to get the funding but, because of government grant cutbacks due to the decision of National Institutes of Health, it didn’t get awarded with the grant. Hoffman stated “you can’t apply again” so he thought he had missed his chance until his son let him know that his robot was sitting at the top of Reddit. From there Hoffman tried a different approach. He got on Reddit and began taking questions from real individuals. After answering these questions he realized that enough people may want to make a difference the same way he had. He put the project on crowd funding site IndieGoGo.com and with 25 days left funding has reached just over $22,000 of the $250,000 goal.