Many countries and regions of the world, including West Africa, continue to be severely affected by malaria. Health officials are doing everything they can to stop the spread of the disease and have found several effective ways. But eradicating malaria is a daunting task, and in order to truly understand how it is transmitted, researchers are focusing on the insects that are most likely to cause infection and transmission– mosquitoes.
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Mosquitoes have developed a terrible way to protect themselves from pesticides, according to a new study. The study, recently published in the journal Nature, focused on proteins found in the legs of two mosquitoes known to carry malaria in West Africa. The researchers found that the protein is resistant to insecticides, allowing mosquitoes to land on treated mosquito nets and continue to spread the disease they carry.
Researchers at the University of Liverpool in the UK have discovered a new mechanism in which mosquitoes carrying the malaria virus are resistant to insecticides. After comparing the Gambian mosquito and the mosquito by mosquito(the two main malaria vectors in West Africa), they found that specific binding protein families located on the legs of insects were highly expressed in the resistance population.
Dr Victoria Ingham, lead author of the paper, explained: “We have found a new drug resistance mechanism that we believe is the cause of lower-than-expected effectiveness of mosquito nets. The protein is located on an animal’s lap and can be exposed to insecticides when they come into contact with the mosquito net, avoiding contact between additives and potential targets added to the mosquito net. “
It’s an incredible discovery, and while it may seem like bad news at first, there’s a glimmer of hope. Yes, mosquitoes have found a way to fight the epidemic, but now that scientists know how insects do it, they can target this resistance and hope to fight the spread of malaria.
The team analyzed mosquito-based mosquitoes and found that the binding protein SAP2 increased in the resistant population and further increased after exposure to the pyrethroid pesticide. They found that when the protein’s levels decreased, the gene could be restored by partially silencing the gene. Conversely, when proteins are expressed at high levels, previously susceptible mosquitoes are resistant to pyrethroids.
Hilary Ranson, senior author of the paper, said: “Insecticide-treated bednets are durable and remain one of the key measures to control malaria. It is vital that we understand the reasons for reducing the resistance of mosquito populations and ensuring that disease rates have not dropped sharply over the past few decades. This newly discovered drug resistance mechanism could provide an important target for our monitoring of insecticide resistance and the development of new compounds that can block pyrethroid resistance and prevent malaria transmission. “