Swedish lab eyes poisoned chalice in malaria fight

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Researchers believe they have found an eco-friendly way to kill mosquitoes that carry malaria.

Cages that mesh with female tights and cages that crawl with mosquitoes are hidden in a Swedish laboratory. Researchers give them daily beet root juice mixed with deadly toxins, which is part of a grand plan designed to combat malaria.

In the hope that the COVID-19 pandemic will delay repeated field trials, Swedish researchers still believe they have discovered the secrets of a new eco-friendly way to kill the infectious Anopheles mosquito. malaria..

They are very hopeful and have set up a company with the aim of turning their findings into commercially viable alternatives to the pesticides currently used to kill mosquitoes, but with humans. It can also be harmful to the environment.

Researcher Nusin Emami, 44, jokes that it’s like having a pet, but unlike pets, these mosquitoes are tricked into drinking poisonous cups.

They are fooled because the liquid is spiked with molecules that make malaria-infected humans a very appetizing molecule.

“When you add this molecule to another solution, that solution becomes very tasty for mosquitoes,” says Emami, a molecular infectious biologist at Stockholm University.

“Like the taste of fresh baguettes and pizzas for hungry creatures … just out of the oven,” she told AFP.

Beet root juice, a mixture of toxins and deadly molecules, seduces mosquitoes

Beet root juice, a mixture of toxins and deadly molecules, seduces mosquitoes.

In December, WHO reported 241 million malaria cases in 2020, up from 219 million in 2019, with an estimated 627,000 deaths, 96% of which occurred in Africa. Children under the age of 5 accounted for about 80 percent of those deaths.

Not only does malaria make people sick, but infected people become more attractive to mosquitoes, and mosquitoes infect more and more people with parasites.

In 2017, Emami and her fellow researchers discovered that this was due to a specific molecule called HMBPP released as a malaria-causing parasite that attacks the body. Red blood cells..

“Eat it and die”

Opening what looks like a giant fridge kept at 27 degrees Celsius (80 degrees Fahrenheit), Emami feeds her and her team daily with a shelf in a container filled with water filled with fluttering larvae. Show off an instant mosquito cage that gives you.

By adding to Beet root juice“Instead of human blood, mosquitoes eat traces of toxins bound to molecules and die,” said Emami, an associate professor at the University of Greenwich in London.

The goal is also to be “harmless, environmentally friendly and readily available for killing compounds”.

Researcher Nusin Emami and her fellow researchers have discovered a deadly molecule called HMBPP.

Researcher Nusin Emami and her fellow researchers have discovered a deadly molecule called HMBPP.

Lech Ignatowicz, who co-founded Molecular Attraction to commercialize the discovery with Emami, said the new method could dramatically change the fight against mosquitoes spreading the disease.

“The most effective way to kill mosquitoes is still to use pesticides, but we know that pesticides kill not only mosquitoes, but other insects and other organisms,” Ignatowicz said. Told AFP.

There is also evidence that pesticides are less effective. Almost 80 countries reported to the World Health Organization that mosquitoes were resistant to at least one of the four commonly used pesticides between 2010 and 2019.

“Scalability problem”

According to Ignatowicz, not only is this molecule relatively inexpensive, but it also has the advantage of being able to target accurately. mosquito..

“Even in very dense environments, jungle and insect-rich tropical environments, you can choose what you want to get rid of and leave the rest of the ecosystem intact,” says Ignatowicz.

While the team is focused on malaria, this method may adapt to the fight to curb the spread of other diseases transmitted by insects and even rodents.

Blood of people infected with malaria is more attractive to mosquitoes

The blood of people infected with malaria is more attractive to mosquitoes.

The next step is to start testing the method on the field.

Anders Lindstrom, a mosquito researcher at the Swedish National Veterinary Institute, who is not involved in the project, told AFP that he was “carefully optimistic” about this method, but that much work is still needed. Stated.

“The problem is always scaling up. The area that needs to be covered by these types of traps to be effective is huge,” Lindstrom explained.

Both methods need to be applied consistently over the long term. This can be difficult in poor or conflict-affected areas where malaria is common.

“It can have a pretty fast effect on reducing population, but the moment you stop, they’ll be back,” Lindstrom said.


Eco-friendly and toxic cocktails could be a new weapon against malaria


© 2022 AFP

Quote: Swedish Lab Eyes Poison Cup in the Battle of Malaria (January 9, 2022) from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-01-swedish-lab-eyes-poisoned-chalice.html Obtained January 9, 2022

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The post Swedish lab eyes poisoned chalice in malaria fight appeared first on California News Times.

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