Skip to content

Microbe shows promise in controlling the spread of malaria.

a study from researchers led by the University of New Mexico engineers biomimetic synthetic RBCs possessing all of their natural counterpart’s abilities, plus multiple artificial components. The team states their fabricated RBCs were each given the ability to transport cargos including hemoglobin, drugs, magnetic nanoparticles, and biosensors to enable alien functions, such as oxygen transportation, drug delivery, magnetic manipulation, and toxin detection.

Malaria is a tropical disease affecting humans and animals through the bite of a mosquito, causing fatalities when it is not diagnosed and treated promptly. The majority of malaria cases occur in Africa and India, caused by the transmission of the single-celled Plasmodium parasite from the bite of female Anopheles mosquitoes, also known as a ‘vector’. The main strategy in the fight against malaria is vector control using mosquito nets treated with insecticide, reducing the incidence of this disease by approximately 40 percent over the past fifteen years. However, this figure remained unchanged between 2014 and 2016, indicating this control measure is insufficient. Therefore, new strategies to cull specific mosquito populations or their ability to transmit Plasmodium are desperately needed. Now, a study from researchers led by the University of Glasgow identifies a new species of microbiota in mosquitoes, dubbed Microsporidia MB, possessing the capacity to stop the vertical transmission of Plasmodium in mosquitoes from mother to offspring. The team states the Microsporidia MB fungi does not appear harmful to the mosquitoes, indicating an increase of the insects infected with the parasite may be a highly effective and ecologically sound strategy for stemming the spread of malaria. The opensource study is published in the journal Nature Communications.

Previous studies show the use of a mosquito-borne microbe to stop the transmission of a disease is a proven strategy with the naturally occurring Wolbachia bacteria exhibiting the enormous potential to wipe out dengue. Dengue is currently the most prevalent mosquito-borne disease in the world with an estimated 50 million cases per annum leading to tens of thousands of fatalities. The successful introduction of a life-shortening strain of Wolbachia into the dengue vector Aedes aegypti to halve adult lifespan has recently been reported. However, in the Anopheles mosquito, there are limited reports of inherited symbiotic microbiota able to stop transmission of the Plasmodium parasite. The current study discovers the Microsporidia MB symbiotic microbe in Anopheles mosquitoes endowed with similar characteristics to the Wolbachia bacteria.

The current study identifies the fungus Microsporidia MB in Anopheles mosquitoes around the shores of Lake Victoria in Kenya. The parasite was found primarily in the gut and genitals of approximately 5 percent of the local Anopheles mosquito population. Results show Anopheles mosquitoes containing the microorganism do not carry malaria parasites, either in their natural habitat or after deliberate infection in the lab. Data findings show Microsporidia MB is passed from female Anopheles mosquitoes to their offspring without causing harm to the mosquito host.

The lab stresses they are still unsure as to how Microsporidia MB blocks the Plasmodium parasite and hypothesize it may boost the mosquito’s immunity, or alter the vector’s metabolism, making their bodies less hospitable to malarial parasites. They end with two strategies for spreading Microsporidia MB involving the release of large numbers of spores to spread among mosquitoes or perhaps infecting male mosquitoes and releasing them into the wild to vitiate females when they mate.

The team surmises they offer a mode of malaria control similar to the one used to control dengue, involving the use of inherited mosquito-borne microbes to block Plasmodium transmission. For the future, the researchers state they now plan to evaluate Microsporidia MB in large mosquito populations in near-natural settings.

Source: United Press International, Inc.

Get Healthinnovations delivered to your inbox:

 

Healthinnovations View All

Michelle Petersen is the founder of Healthinnovations, having worked in the health and science industry for over 21 years, which includes tenure within the NHS and Oxford University. Healthinnovations is a publication that has reported on, influenced, and researched current and future innovations in health for the past decade.

Michelle has been picked up as an expert writer for Informa publisher’s Clinical Trials community, as well as being listed as a blog source by the world’s leading medical journals, including the acclaimed Nature-Springer journal series.

Healthinnovations is currently indexed by the trusted Altmetric and PlumX metrics systems, respectively, as a blog source for published research globally. Healthinnovations is also featured in the world-renowned BioPortfolio, BioPortfolio.com, the life science, pharmaceutical and healthcare portal.

Most recently the Texas A&M University covered The Top 10 Healthinnovations series on their site with distinguished Professor Stephen Maren calling the inclusion of himself and his team on the list a reflection of “the hard work and dedication of my students and trainees”.

Michelle Petersen’s copy was used in the highly successful marketing campaign for the mega-hit film ‘Jumanji: The Next Level, starring Jack Black, Karen Gilian, Kevin Hart and Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. Michelle Petersen’s copywriting was part of the film’s coverage by the Republic TV network. Republic TV is the most-watched English language TV channel in India since its inception in 2017.

An avid campaigner in the fight against child sex abuse and trafficking, Michelle is a passionate humanist striving for a better quality of life for all humans by helping to provide traction for new technologies and techniques within healthcare.

Leave a Reply

Translate »