Scientists are working to develop malaria resistance in mosquitoes, which could prevent transmission of the disease to humans
Research carried out at Michigan State University (MSU) shows that introducing a bacteria known as Wolbachia to mosquitoes can act as a vaccine, protecting the insects from malaria parasites.
Malaria affected 219 million people in 2010, according to the World Health Organisation. Some 90% of all malaria deaths occur in Africa.
Researchers say the Wolbachia bacteria can be spread by the insects through entire mosquito populations.
“We developed the mosquito line carrying a stable Wolbachia infection,” Zhiyong Xi, MSU assistant professor of microbiology and molecular genetics, said. “We then seeded them into uninfected populations and repeatedly produced a population of predominantly Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes.”
The current research findings originated out of Xi’s work using Wolbachia to halt Dengue fever.