A microbe has been discovered by experts that prevents mosquitoes from being infected with malaria.
The teams in Kenya and the UK have said that the discovery has “enormous potential” to manage the disease. The bite of infected mosquitoes spreads the disease and if they are protected, this could help protect the people.
Currently, the scientists are working on how they can release the malaria-infected mosquitoes into the wild or how the disease can be stopped using spores. The microbe in question is called Microsporidia MB and was found while researching mosquitoes in Kenya, it is found in the gut and genitals of the insects.
Not a single mosquito that had the microbe had the malaria parasite according to the researchers and the lab experiments, published in Nature Communications. The microbe was naturally found in over 5% of the insects studied.
“The data we have so far suggest it is 100% blockage, it’s a very severe blockage of malaria,” Dr. Jeremy Herren, from the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) in Kenya. He added, “It will come as quite a surprise. I think people will find that a real big breakthrough.”
To make a substantial mark against malaria, around 40% of mosquitoes in the region need to have the microbe, at the very least.
“It’s a new discovery. We are very excited by its potential for malaria control. It has enormous potential,” said, Prof Steven Sinkins, from the MRC-University of Glasgow Centre for Virus Research.
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