This is a discovery that could upset the malaria research. In Kenya, scientists have discovered a new method of enormous potential to prevent mosquitoes transmit the parasites responsible for malaria in man.
The team of researchers, mainly from Kenya, the United Kingdom and South Africa, has been studying the mosquitoes on the shores of lake Victoria, Kenya. They found that Microsporidia MB, a microorganism that lives in the intestine and the ways of reproduction of mosquitoes, can completely protect this same mosquito infection by plasmodium, the parasite responsible for malaria.
The scientists are now trying to find out if they can release the mosquitoes that are carriers of this virus in the nature or use of the spores to remove the disease.
"future studies will allow us to better understand exactly how Microsporidia MB protects its host against the malaria parasite, and how we could increase the levels of Microsporidia MB in mosquito populations in the wild, up to a prevalence where it would have a significant impact on the transmission of malaria" has recently realized Jeremy Harren, at the head of the research team based at the international Centre of physiology and insect ecology (Icipe) in Kenya.
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A world of microbes
How is this famous revolution ? It is quite simple : the microsporidia are fungi, or at least closely related to them. As the plasmodium, they are also known to live inside of the mosquito as a pest. Malaria is spread by the bite of infected mosquitoes. According to the study, the Microsporidia MB could strengthen the immune system of the mosquito, so that it is more capable to fight infections.
The other assumption is that by its presence in the insect, the microbe could have a profound effect on the metabolism of the mosquito, rendering it inhospitable to the malaria parasite.
Other good news to be confirmed, the infections with Microsporidia MB seem to last a lifetime. According to the experiments already conducted, it seems that they become more intense, so that the blocking effect of malaria would be sustainable.
Proof that this is real, this strategy has already been demonstrated in a city in the north of Australia, where mosquitoes infected with Wolbachia, a bacterium, have been deployed on a large scale, stopping it effectively all the outbreaks of dengue fever for more than four years.
last month, the world health Organization has reported that progress in the fight against malaria, which kills 400,000 people per year, were to the point of death, as the parasite and the mosquitoes showed an increasing resistance to treatments.
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To go further, researchers have indicated that there should be at least 40 % of mosquitoes from an area to be infected by the microsporidia to finally create a dent significant in the transmission of malaria. If they know that the microbe can be transmitted between adult mosquitoes, this important team of researchers has also learned that it could be transmitted by the female to her offspring.
from these data, they developed two strategies to increase the number of mosquitoes infected by this virus. First, the microsporidia form spores that could be released en masse to infect the mosquitoes. Secondly, the male mosquitoes (which do not sting) could be infected in the laboratory and released into the wild to infect the females when they have sex.
The discovery of the microbe occurs so that the current measures in the fight against malaria are beginning to be regarded as insufficient or ineffective. Many reports have demonstrated drug resistance, as artemisinin resistance, in many areas, and resistance to insecticides in 73 countries in 2019. The new RTS, S malaria vaccine approved by 2015, has a low efficiency and has decreased the cases of malaria by 39% and serious cases of 29 % in clinical trials.
which is very low compared to the results obtained in most of the other routine vaccines for children, which range from 85 % to 95 % efficiency. There has been no significant reduction in the annual number of malaria cases since 2014. This raises fears that if better methods are not developed to control the disease, the progress achieved so far could be reversed.
in sub-saharan Africa bears a disproportionate share of the global burden of malaria. In 2018, approximately 228 million cases of malaria occurred in the world, sub-saharan Africa representing 93 % of the cases and 94% of deaths. The disease, transmitted by the female anopheles mosquito, already costs the continent about $ 12 billion per year in direct losses, and these are the families who bear the heaviest burden.
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