Scientists identify microbe that prevents mosquitoes from catching or spreading malaria

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Scientists have discovered an insect that lives inside the insides of mosquitoes and protects them from malaria.

The researchers said the microbe, which lives in about 5% of mosquitoes on the shores of Lake Victoria in Kenya, could also prevent insects from transmitting the disease to humans.

Malaria is spread by the bite of infected mosquitoes, so finding a way to prevent the bugs that catch the disease could also protect people.

Malaria blocking virus Microsporidia MB has been found to live in the gut and genitals of mosquitoes, a team from the University of Glasgow and the International Center for Insect Physiology and Ecology (Icipe) in Kenya studied.

Researchers hypothesized that the virus could either prime the mosquito’s immune system to fight the malaria parasite, or have an effect on the metabolism of the insect, making it inhospitable to the malaria parasite.

Dr. Jeremy Herren, who led the research, told the BBC: “The data we have so far suggests that it’s a 100% blockage, it’s a very severe blockage of the malaria. “

Scientists have discovered an insect that lives inside the insides of mosquitoes and protects them from malaria

Scientists have discovered an insect that lives inside the insides of mosquitoes and protects them from malaria

Malaria kills more than 400,000 people each year, and most of them are children under the age of five.

About 250,000 of these deaths occur in Africa. The disease is caused by a parasite called Plasmodium, five of which cause malaria.

When an infected mosquito bites a person, the parasite enters its bloodstream.

Symptoms include fever, feeling hot and chills, headache, vomiting, and muscle pain.

However, the latest breakthrough could provide a powerful new weapon in the fight against the disease.

Laboratory experiments have confirmed that the microbe microsporidia protects mosquitoes in Kenya against malaria.

No mosquito carrying the virus has been found in the malaria parasite.

While most microsporidias – which are fungi or are closely related to them – are parasites, this newly discovered species can benefit the mosquito

It was found naturally in one in 20 insects studied.

It is encouraging to note that the malaria blocking effect would also be long lasting as Microsporidia MB infections appear to last a lifetime in mosquitoes.

However, at least 40% of mosquitoes in any area should be infected with the virus to significantly combat malaria.

The researchers, who published their results in the journal Nature Communications, are studying ways to increase the number of mosquitoes infected with Microspordia MB.

The malaria blocking virus, Microsporidia MB, lived in the gut and genitals of mosquitoes studied by a team from the University of Glasgow and the International Center for Insect Physiology and Ecology (Icipe) in Kenya.

The malaria blocking virus, Microsporidia MB, lived in the gut and genitals of mosquitoes studied by a team from the University of Glasgow and the International Center for Insect Physiology and Ecology (Icipe) in Kenya.

Because the insect is found in the insides of mosquitoes, it may be possible to introduce it into a larger insect population by growing spores and putting them in sugar that would be eaten by mosquitoes.

“This is a new discovery. We are very excited about its potential to control malaria. It has huge potential, ”said Professor Steven Simkins of the MRC-University of Glasgow Center for Virus Research to the BBC.

The concept of using microbes to control mosquito-borne diseases is not without precedent.

A type of bacteria called Wolbachia has been discovered by scientists at the universities of Glasgow and Melbourne to make it more difficult for mosquitoes to spread dengue. .

Scientists injected a strain of Wolbachia into mosquitoes raised in a laboratory, before releasing them around Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia.

When mosquitoes breed, they produce offspring which also carry Wolbachia. The dengue bacteria fight to compete and survive.

The results of the trial showed that the technique has reduced the number of human cases of serious infection by 40% in about a year.

WHAT IS MALARIA?

Malaria is a life-threatening tropical disease transmitted by mosquitoes.

He is one of the world’s biggest killers, claiming the life of a child every two minutes, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Most of these deaths occur in Africa, where 250,000 young people die from the disease each year.

Malaria is caused by a parasite called Plasmodium, five of which cause malaria.

The Plasmodium parasite is mainly disseminated by female anopheline mosquitoes.

When an infected mosquito bites a person, the parasite enters its bloodstream.

Symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Feeling of warmth and thrill
  • Headache
  • Vomiting
  • Muscle pain
  • Diarrhea

These usually appear between a week and 18 days of infection, but can take up to a year or sometimes even longer.

People should seek medical attention immediately if they develop symptoms during or after visiting an area affected by malaria.

Malaria is present in more than 100 countries, including:

  • Large regions of Africa and Asia
  • Central and South America
  • Haiti and the Dominican Republic
  • Parts of the middle east
  • Some pacific islands

A blood test confirms a diagnosis.

In very rare cases, malaria can spread by blood transfusion.

In most cases, malaria can be prevented by using insect repellents, wearing clothing that covers your limbs, and using an insecticide-treated net.

Malaria prevention tablets are also often recommended.

Treatment, which includes antimalarial drugs, usually leads to complete recovery if done early enough.

Left untreated, the infection can lead to severe anemia. This happens when the parasites enter the red blood cells, which then rupture and reduce the number of cells overall.

And cerebral malaria can occur when the small blood vessels in the brain become blocked, causing seizures, brain damage and even coma.

Source: Choice of NHS

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