Researchers discovered that one microbe can effectively stop malaria transmission amongst mosquitoes, and therefore amongst humans. This revelation can have a great impact on efforts to stop the spread of the disease. Microsporidia is a microbe found on the shores of Lake Victoria in Kenya where it was discovered that the mosquitoes in the area didn’t carry malaria, which is exceptional since neighbouring populations were carriers. The research team deduced that one specific microbe blocked the acquisition and spread of malaria.
“The data we have so far suggest it is 100% blockage, it’s a very severe blockage of malaria,” Dr Jeremy Herren, from the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe) in Kenya told the BBC.
He added: “It will come as a quite a surprise. I think people will find that a real big breakthrough.”
More than 400,000 people are killed by malaria each year, most of them children under the age of five.
While huge progress has been made through the use of bed nets and spraying homes with insecticide, this has stalled in recent years. It is widely agreed new tools are needed to tackle malaria.