Scientists from the
discovered the bug
makes antibodies that interfere with the malaria parasite’s life cycle and stop
it passing to humans University
A mosquito that has been genetically altered could lead to the end of malaria.
The bug makes antibodies that interfere with the deadly parasite’s life cycle and stop it passing to humans.
The vital trait was passed on to 99.5% of the mosquito’s offspring, which scientists called “astonishing”.
Despite a 60% reduction in death rates since 2000, the malaria death toll is expected to reach 438,000 this year, according to the World Health Organisation .
Malaria is contracted when a bite from a female mosquito carrying the malaria parasite is released into the bloodstream.
It multiplies in the liver before re-entering the bloodstream to attack the red blood cells.
California University Professor Anthony James said:
“This opens up the real promise that this technique can be adapted for eliminating malaria.
“This is a significant first step. We know the gene works. The mosquitoes we created are not the final brand, but we know this technology allows us to efficiently create large populations.”
Further work will be needed to confirm the effectiveness of the antibodies, paving the way to field trials, said the researchers writing in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
They concluded: “Strains based on this technology could sustain control and elimination as part of the malaria eradication agenda.”