Malaria is a major public health concern because of the rising prevalence of malaria deaths especially in children from endemic malaria zones. Malaria is responsible for over 400,000 deaths per year and
In a recent study, research scientists in the United States of America discovered new effective methods to eliminate mosquitoes.
This article would highlight the methods, findings and significance of the discovery.
MALARIA CONTROL METHODS
Malaria can be controlled using antimalarial drugs to kill the parasite in the blood of humans or externally by eliminating mosquitoes using vector control methods like spraying insecticides.
However, using vector control methods would be crucial in controlling the disease because of the emerging high incidence of multi-drug resistant parasite strains which cause resistant malaria and treatment failure.
The combination of new vector control methods can help resolve the trend of recurrent challenges in malaria treatment.
NEW SCIENTIFIC DISCOVERY
Scientists genetically engineered a fungus that produced toxins that killed mosquitoes exposed to the fungus as discovered in the laboratory. They infused the genetic code into the fungus which instructed the production of spider toxins when the fungus infects the mosquito.
Upon discovering the rapid clearance of mosquitoes after exposure to the fungus in the laboratory, the research team tried the same experiment in a mosquito-laden environment.
They created a restricted environment containing stagnant water pool and plants that attracted mosquitoes and increased their number significantly.
The researchers introduced the spores of the genetically engineered fungus into this mosquito habitat and studied the clearance pattern.
In 45 days, the fungal spores had cleared close to 99% of the mosquitoes in the habitat.
This finding shows that malaria control can
SIGNIFICANCE OF THIS DISCOVERY
- Improved infant and under 5 mortality rates in Africa because malaria is one of the leading causes of deaths in this region.
- Reduction of government expenditure in handling the disease.
- Substantial decline in the incidence and prevalence rates of malaria.
Finally, this discovery will mark a significant progress towards the reduction of malaria cases in Africa.Adopting safe malaria vector control methods may serve as an effective alternative to drugs in malaria control in the future.