Scientists have discovered how malaria spread can be prevented by treating malaria-carrying female Anopheles mosquito with a synthetic chemical that can disrupt the mosquitoes' biological processes.
Mosquitoes are considered one of the most vicious pests not because their bite stings and leaves an itchy, red bump. It's because they can transmit various diseases that are lethal to humans, and even to other animals too.
A female Anopheles albimanus mosquito is a vector of malaria disease.
According to American Mosquito Control Association
, over one million people worldwide die from mosquito-borne diseases every year like the low-mortality diseases like dengue and malaria.
It is reported that malaria kills one child every 40 seconds, as stated by AMCA.
Harvard T.H Chan School of Public Health
says that malaria kills about 500,000 people every year.
Malaria, which is an ancient disease is caused by a malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum
transmitted from a bite of a female Anopheles mosquito to a person. But these malaria-carrying mosquitoes are rapidly becoming resistant to insecticides.
The scientists at Harvard Chan conducted an experiment wherein Anopheles
female mosquitoes were treated with a synthetic chemical called DBH (dibenzoylhydrazine) which is non-toxic to mammals and is similar to a steroid hormone, 20-hydroxyecdysone, to see how their biological processes especially the reproductive processes get disrupted.
Flaminia Catteruccia, co-senior author of the study and associate professor of immunology and infectious diseases
at Harvard Chan School said, “As insecticide resistance is spreading, new intervention methods to control mosquitoes are urgently needed.”
The results of the study have met what the researchers are aiming for. Indeed, various biological processes were disrupted in the chemically-treated mosquitoes. Egg production have minimized, mating failed and death came rapidly. Researchers found that the higher the dose, the faster and more potent the effect.
“Our study provides a new strategy based on the use of a non-toxic compound that prevents transmission of malaria parasites without killing the mosquito,” Catteruccia added.
DBH via bed nets showed strong effectiveness against malaria prevalence.
The experts also believed that DBH-treated mosquitoes were less likely to be infected by malaria parasites.
The study is published in journal PLOS Pathogen
Similar mosquito-combating study is conducted by other two of US universities which a mosquito is treated with a chemical that can cause kidney damage
and prevents urination in the mosquito, which would eventually cause it to burst and die.
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