Researchers have engineered transgenic fungi that drill into mosquitoes and kill the malaria parasite inside -- the first tool of its kind -- a February 25, 2011 study in Science reported.Used in conjunction with traditional insecticide methods against mosquitoes, experts say this bioinsecticide has the potential to greatly improve malaria eradication efforts.
"This is a great example of trying to be innovative and use novel ways to look at this problem," said linkurl:Matt Thomas,;http://ento.psu.edu/directory/mbt13 a disease ecologist at Penn State who was not involved in the research. "It's a move outside the existing insecticide paradigm, which has dominated parasite and vector control for 40-50 years."Malaria is responsible for the deaths of nearly 1 million people each year, most of them children living in sub-Saharan Africa. Because the parasite that causes the disease, Plasmodium falciparum, is transmitted by...
Image: Courtesy of Raymond St. Leger
Metarhizium anisopliaePlasmodiumW. Fang et al., "Development of Transgenic Fungi That Kill Human Malaria Parasites in Mosquitoes," Science 311: 1074-77.
Interested in reading more?
Become a Member of
Receive full access to more than 35 years of archives, as well as TS Digest, digital editions of The Scientist, feature stories, and much more!