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New Plasmid Might Hold Key To Manage Mosquito-Borne Illness

An international research team might have spotted a novel method to control mosquito-borne illnesses, as per the new research available in the journal Nature Communications. In a joint effort headed by Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) scientists Sarah Bordenstein and Julie Reveillaud, researchers have turned to influence a parasitic bacterium named Wolbachia. This bacterium can impact the reproductive health of disease-carrying mosquitoes.

Wolbachia holds an ability to alter the sperm of its mosquito host and impact the insect’s reproductive performance. If a Wolbachia infected male mosquito mates with a female that carries another strain of Wolbachia or an uninfected female, then embryos cannot grow. Together with A. Murat Eren (Meren), University of Chicago, senior author of the study, the researchers spotted a novel mobile DNA element within Wolbachia. This element could assist to advance strategies for managing mosquito vectors of disease.

On a similar note, from long ago, one of the powerful weapons to deal with malaria has been a low-tech mosquito bed nets to actually obstruct biting. They are treated with fatal insecticides to destroy the mosquitoes. With the common use of this combination, malaria deaths have decreased significantly. However, in 2016 alone, almost 445,000 individuals died from the disease. At present, the ever-adaptable pest has found to be resistant to insecticides. So, the danger is again worsening.

Lauren Childs, Assistant Professor, Mathematics, Virginia Tech College of Science, has united with scientists from T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Harvard University. This collaboration is supposed to assist in developing a solution that might avoid or even minimize extra malaria casualties. Childs is a 2nd author on a paper available in the journal Nature. Researchers discovered that they might employ the same medication, atovaquone. It is generally used in the treatment of malaria. When an individual feels ill, mosquito bed nets are coated with this medication, and mosquitoes are allowed to consume this anti-malarial drug.

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