Scientists ponder mosquitoes to fight malaria – News – Up-to-date news from Uruguay and the world


The research, led by the T.H. Chan Harvard University, showed that the drug atovaquoneGenerally given to people to prevent and treat malaria, it is also effective in these insects.

While humans take it orally, mosquitoes can absorb it through their legs when they come in contact with a surface on which atovaquone has been applied, such as in mosquito nets.

Experts found that mosquitoes treated with this drug, introduced in 2000, have "completely" blocked the development of the parasite Plasmodium falciparum, which causes malaria.

"Mosquitoes are extraordinarily resistant organisms and have developed resistance against all the insecticides that have been used to kill them. By eliminating the malaria parasites within the mosquito, instead of killing them, we can effectively prevent the transmission of malaria," he explained. a statement by Flaminia Catteruccia, professor of immunology and infectious diseases.

In their view, the use of anti-mosquito nets can help combat this "devastating disease," since it is a "simple but innovative idea" that is "safe" for people and, moreover, "environmentally friendly." "

Over the past 20 years, insecticide application on mosquito nets has prevented about 68% of malaria cases, although some species have recently developed resistance to the more common repellents, such as pyrethroids, commonly used in homes and agriculture. .

For this study, the scientists exposed female Anopheles mosquitoes to the antimalarial compound atovaquone in order to apply a prophylactic treatment capable of blocking the development and transmission of the parasite Plasmodium falciparum.

They found that the insects completely nullified the parasite with relatively low concentrations of atovaquone (100 micromoles per square meter) and six-minute exposures, a time comparable to that which mosquitoes can pass through insecticide-treated mosquito nets.

Specialists also obtained similar results with other similar drugs, although atovaquone, they emphasize, has no effect on life expectancy or reproductive capacity of mosquitoes.

"When we use a mathematical model with real-world data on insecticide resistance, mosquito protection and malaria prevalence, we note that the complementary use of a compound such as atovaquone can significantly reduce malaria transmission in almost all malaria conditions. we had data in Africa, "said Douglas Paton, the study's lead author.


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