Fungus fights malaria?

A genetically modified fungus that targets not mosquitoes, but the malaria parasites inside, could be a powerful tool for malaria eradication

Hannah Waters
Feb 23, 2011
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.
Mosquito infected with pathogenic fungus Metarhizium
Image: Courtesy of Raymond St. Leger
"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...
Metarhizium anisopliaePlasmodiumW. Fang et al., "Development of Transgenic Fungi That Kill Human Malaria Parasites in Mosquitoes," Science 311: 1074-77.




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