How Does Malaria Spread?
Malaria spreads in humans primarily by mosquito bites. It is spread by the bite of female Anopheles, which relies on human blood for survival. Plasmodium parasite, which causes malaria in humans, is spread when the female Anopheles bites an infected person and ends up injecting the subsequent person(s). Of all the Plasmodium Parasites, only 5 types cause malaria in humans.
In a research conducted by a team of scientists from the UK and Kenya, a microbe by the name Microsporidia MB was found in mosquitoes without the malarial parasite. Further research confirmed that the Microsporidia MB actually made the mosquitoes immune to the Malarial parasite.
How It Would Be Used?
While the research is at the primary stage, the experts have designed 2 main strategies to develop the required immune system in the mosquitoes:
- Spores are generated by the Microsporidia which can be allowed to permeate the mosquitoes in large.
- Alternatively, male mosquitoes could be injected with the microbe. The males would then spread it in the females by the process of fertilization.
The disease kills more than 400,000 people yearly, with Africa counting for more than 360,000 deaths alone. Moreover, most of the victims are children below the age of 5. WHO has warned that since 75% of anti-malarial drugs like Hydroxychloroquine are being used in the fight against Coronavirus, a lack of malarial medication can cause the number of deaths in Africa to increase to 769,000. African regions accounted for nearly 90% of all cases in 2018, whereas African regions and Southeast Asian regions accounted for more than 80% of deaths by Malaria in 2017.
The discovery of Microsporidia MB has provided a major boost in the fight against Malaria as recent studies have indicated a halt in its declining rate.