How to fight the transmission of malaria? This has always been an important research question in the fight against the disease. Now researchers of the Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute in Baltimore have found a new way to prevent the spread of malaria. By genetically modifying a bacterium found in the midgut of the mosquitoes, they were able to inhibit the development of the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum, inside the mosquito.
The bacterium, called Pantoea agglomerans, was modified to produce proteins toxic to the Plasmodium falciparum. The toxins reportedly don’t harm either mosquitoes or humans. The results of the study, which are published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, showed that the bacteria strains inhibited development of the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum and rodent malaria parasite Plasmodium berghei by up to 98%. The genetically engineered bacteria are visible, as they glow fluorescent green inside the mosquito (see image). The ultimate goal is to completely prevent the spread of malaria, and this new weapon looks promising in the global battle against the disease.
Press release from Johns Hopkins Malaria Institute:Genetically Engineered Bacteria Prevent Mosquitoes from Transmitting Malaria