She added: “We could design inhibitors that will prevent females from developing eggs. These inhibitors could be incorporated into insecticide formulations currently used to kill mosquitoes (on mosquito nets or indoor residual sprays).”
“This way, if the insecticide doesn’t kill the mosquito because of resistance, the mosquito still won’t produce eggs and will not transmit insecticide resistance to her progeny. This would increase the lifespan and efficacy of insecticides, our best weapon against malaria and mosquitoes.”
Sanjeev Krishna, Professor of Molecular Parasitology at St George’s, University of London, said resistance to insecticides was a problem and while there are attempts to develop new ones, new ways to tackle mosquito populations and malaria were welcome.
“Mosquito control, in which area control of mosquito reproduction would be an important component, is a proven area of benefit in reducing mortality from malaria through the use of [insecticide] impregnated bed nets,” he said.
“Mosquitoes are becoming resistant to some insecticides, as well as being selected for changes in behavior that adapt them so that they are less exposed to bed nets. If a new approach can be developed, this would be very helpful in the overall toolkit against malaria. The findings in this study lay the groundwork for a different approach, but there will be a lot more to be done before results can be translated to benefits for malaria control.”
Other work that has looked at biological ways of controlling of Anopheles gambiae (Anopheles is from the Greek meaning “good for nothing”) has included the idea of infecting mosquitoes with the Wolbachia bacterium, which makes them temporarily resistant to the malaria parasite. Females also play a crucial role in this, as the bacterial infection can only be passed between females and their offspring.
As for eradicating mosquitoes, it has been argued that complete riddance of some species that carry the malaria parasite wouldn’t harm ecological systems - especially when compared to the amount of harm caused to humans.
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