An international team of scientists will in the coming five years set up a research project on developing diversions to mislead malaria mosquitoes with odours. With these the number of cases of malaria in tropical Africa may be reduced strongly. Scientists at Wageningen University will be working with colleagues in the USA, Tanzania and Gambia on a project led by Vanderbilt researchers that has received $8.5 million dollars (approximately 7 million Euro) from the U.S. Foundation for the National Institutes of Health and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation as part of their Grand Challenges in Global Health Initiative.
In the team are scientists from Vanderbilt University, Yale University and Wageningen University who will be co-operating with researchers from the Ifakara Health Research and Development Centre in Tanzania and the Medical Research Council Laboratories in Gambia (Africa). They aim at reducing the population of malaria transferring mosquitoes by setting up odour traps and effective repellents that keep malaria mosquitoes away from potential human hosts. In this fashion, they hope that the risk of malaria transfer may be reduced substantially.
To find a proper host (the human being) female malaria mosquitoes head for the odours they intercept with their antennas. After they recognise the host’s odour, they suck up blood that hey need for egg production. As the mosquito is drawing blood, parasites from the mosquito enter the human body. A small percentage of malaria mosquitoes are infected by the Plasmodium parasite. These parasites (Plasmodium spp.) are responsible for the malaria disease. When an infected person, after an incubation period of ten to fourteen days, is bitten again by a mosquito, the malaria parasite is transmitted to the mosquito and so is spread more widely throughout the mosquito population. The change for other people of being infected will increase. The number of malaria cases is world-wide between 300 and 660 million per year and is the most important life-threatening disease in the world, causing more than a million fatal victims pro year.
Jac Niessen | alfa
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