Genetically engineered mosquitoes that can transmit malaria and other diseases could have the potential to help eradicate the deadly disease
Genetic engineering has the potential, at least in theory, to help tackle malaria, which has killed an estimated 20 million people and left millions more sick in the region.
The development could be a game-changer in the fight against malaria, according to a report by researchers at the University of Texas.
Scientists have been working to develop genetically engineered mosquitoes to treat malaria for years, and the team behind the new study reports that their results are promising.
The new mosquitoes, which were created by using an engineered protein, are capable of attacking a mosquito’s genome, which would allow the mosquitoes to fight off other pests and other disease.
“If you want to eliminate malaria, you can’t just focus on just one vector,” said John Schuessler, an assistant professor at UT.
With the help of genetically engineered mosquitos, the researchers said, the mosquito could be used to combat malaria in many more countries around the world.
The mosquito could also help tackle other problems like food security and water availability, Schu Kessler said.
Dr. Paul J. Risch, a professor at the Harvard School of Public Health, called the work an “exciting step forward.”
“This study is a step toward developing an effective and efficient, safe and cheap way to produce genetically engineered mosquito resistant to malaria,” Risch said.
“The ability to make mosquitoes resistant to other malaria vectors, like dengue, will provide the ability to fight both vectorborne and malaria infections.”
This new study could have a big impact in Africa, where the continent has a massive population of more than one billion people.
With more than half of the world’s population living in urban areas, and an average of 1.5 million new cases per year, Africa is in dire need of an effective vaccine against the disease.
The country is currently battling the emergence of a new strain of the mosquito that has been linked to an increased risk of contracting malaria.
This research was published in the Journal of Applied Microbiology.