The scourge of cervical cancer — a leading cancer killer of women in the third world without access to Pap smears and HPV vaccinations — is being whipped with an unlikely low-tech, low-cost preventive treatment: Ordinary vinegar plus freezing of the cervical warts before they turn cancerous.
The vinegar is brushed on the cervix by a nurse and any areas of abnormality turn white. It’s not perfectly accurate — sometimes spots turn white and they are totally benign. But the treatment of the white spots is low-pain and cheap — and highly effective: freezing of the white spots with a metal rod dipped in liquid carbon dioxide (available from the nearest Coca Cola plant).
Read more about this public health innovation that was co-invented by American and Indian doctors, and spread in Thailand, in this New York Times article.