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Scientists meditate on mosquitoes to fight malaria

The research, led by the School of Public Health T.H. Chan from Harvard University, demonstrated that the atovaquone drug, normally administered to people to prevent and treat malaria, is also effective in these insects.

While human beings take it by mouth, mosquitoes can absorb it through their legs, when they come into contact with a surface atovaquone applied, such as bed-mesh nets.

The experts found that mosquitoes treated with this drug, which was introduced in the year 2000, blocked "completely" the development of the Plasmodium falciparum parasite, the cause of malaria.

"Mosquitoes are extraordinarily resistant organisms and developed resistance against each insecticide that was used to kill them. By eliminating malaria parasites inside the mosquito, instead of killing it, we can effectively prevent malaria transmission," he said in a statement Flaminia, Catteruccia, professor of immunology and infectious diseases.

In his opinion, the use of anti-mosquito meshes can help fight this "devastating disease", because it is a "simple but innovative idea" that "is safe" for people and, moreover, "respectful of the environment" .

During the last 20 years, the application of insecticides in anti-mosquito networks prevented around 68% of cases of malaria, although some species have recently developed resistance to the most common repellents, such as those called pyrethroids, commonly used in homes and in agriculture.

For this study, scientists exposed anopheles female mosquitoes to the atovaquone antimalarial compound, in order to apply prophylactic treatment capable of blocking the development and transmission of the Plasmodium falciparum parasite.

They discovered that insects completely canceled the parasite with relatively low concentrations of atovaquone (100 micromoles per square meter) and six-minute exposures, a time comparable to mosquitoes that can pass on bed-wipes treated with insecticides.

The experts also obtained similar results with other similar drugs, although the atovaquona, emphasize, does not have effects on the life expectancy or the reproductive capacity of the mosquitos.

"When we turn to a mathematical model with real-world data on insecticide resistance, protection of anti-mosquito meshes and malaria prevalence, we observe that the complementary use of a compound such as atovaquone can significantly reduce the transmission of malaria in almost all conditions for the We had data in Africa, "said Douglas Paton, the lead author of the study.

With information from EFE

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