A New Way to Repel Mosquitos

What if, as a substitute for killing mosquitoes that carry malaria, we tried to kill the tiny malaria parasite contained in the skeeters earlier than they may go it on to people once they bit? That is a query that occurred to Flaminia Catteruccia and Doug Paton; she’s a lab head, and he is a postdoctoral researcher on the Harvard T.H. Chan College of Public Well being. Many years of progress towards the illness have stalled in recent times, prompting many to rethink our greatest device within the struggle – insecticide-handled mattress nets.

The World Health Organisation credit insecticide-handled mattress nets with stopping an estimated 1.3 billion circumstances of malaria and 6.8 million deaths from the illness for the reason that 12 months 2000. However, there’s concern that mosquitoes are evolving resistance towards the one class of insecticide used on the nets — pyrethroids. Many scientists consider the rapid emergence of insecticide resistance may very well be slowing efforts to eradicate the illness. “There’s a consensus within the area that we want new, and various, instruments to proceed making progress in opposition to malaria,” says Samir Bhatt, a scientist who researches malaria epidemiology at Imperial School London.

An analysis published Wednesday within the journal Nature proposes such a method — kill the parasite that causes malaria whereas it is contained in the mosquito as an alternative of killing the mosquito itself. Catteruccia’s lab at Harvard College demonstrated that an antimalarial drug would be transmitted to mosquitoes utilizing transient, direct contact and successfully halt the transmission of the parasite.

Pyrethroids are poised to develop into victims of their very own success. Because of the flip of the century, over a billion pyrethroid-handled mosquito nets, have been distributed round Africa and have proved remarkably efficient in decreasing malaria charges. Insecticide-handled mattress nets are thought by researchers to be responsible for 68 % of all averted malaria instances since 2000.