Mosquitoes as Anti-Malaria Allies
Mosquitoes have immune systems that actually kill 80 to 90 % of the malaria parasites that enter the insect’s bodies. Researchers say that genetically modified, malaria-fighting mosquitoes could someday be more effective at slowing the disease than today’s simple mosquito nets. Some experts think it may be more effective to attack malaria inside the insects, before it enters human hosts, because malaria-parasite populations are lower when the parasites are inside mosquitoes. Three proteins in mosquito blood form a complex that binds to a malaria parasite and punches holes through its membrane, destroying the layer that protects the parasite and holds all its important parts together. One of the proteins seemed similar to microbe-killing proteins in other animals and in humans, as previously researchers had identified.