Scientists find way to eradicate malaria through mosquito’s stomach

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Researchers report they have found a way to kill malaria in mosquitoes by genetically modifying a bacterium commonly found in the insect’s mid-gut, according to a new study.  

 

The bacterium, called Pantoea agglomerans, can be modified to secrete proteins that are toxic to the malaria parasite, but are not harmful to humans or the mosquito itself.  In fact, the bacterium is so specific to targeting malaria that it does not even affect other bacteria in the mosquito’s gut, according to the researchers from Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute, who conducted the study.

 

The bacterium is genetically engineered to attack malaria in multiple ways.  

“There are not one, but several anti-malaria compounds the bacterium secretes,” explained Dr. Marcelo Jacobs-Lorena, senior author of the study and a professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.  “Each acts by a different mechanism and makes it much more difficult for the parasite to develop a resistance to it.”