Malaria-free mosquito engineered by scientists

D. Davies,  GHANA NEWS AGENCY,  2022.

Scientists have genetically modified the main malaria-carrying species of mosquito in sub-Saharan Africa to slow the growth of malaria-causing parasites in their gut, preventing transmission of the disease to humans. When the Anopheles gambiae takes a blood meal, it produces two molecules called antimicrobial peptides in its guts, according to the scientists. These peptides, which were originally isolated from honeybees and African clawed frogs, impair the malaria parasite’s development. Now researchers from the Transmission Zero team at Imperial College London have come up with a design that can be combined with existing “gene drive” technology to spread the modification and drastically cut malaria transmission. Collaborators from the Institute for Disease Modelling at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which funded the research, also developed a model that, for the first time, can assess the impact of such modifications if used in a variety of African settings. They found that the modification developed by the Imperial team could be a powerful tool for bringing down cases of malaria even where transmission is high.

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