Fighting Malaria With Mosquito Gut Bacteria

Mosquitoes are evil, bloodsucking, malaria carriers. But not all of them. A new discovery has found that some have a bacterium in their guts that kills malaria. Those mosquitoes are just evil bloodsuckers. They’re also a potential path toward stopping the spread of malaria.

There have been plans to genetically engineer mosquitoes to not be able to carry malaria, but this new discovery could prove to be a more… organic solution. Instead of GMO mosquitoes flying around, scientists say that we could simply expose more and more bugs to the bacterium, slowly infecting the population with malaria-killing ability.

The bacteria also causes the mosquitoes to die sooner, which means fewer of them would be alive long enough for the malaria to complete its life cycle and be transmittable. The possibility of a non-genetic modification malaria elimination solution is incredibly exciting, because as we know from Jurassic Park, messing with animals’ genetic codes always leads to unintended consequences. Now, as we wait for scientists can find a way to get this bacteria into all the mosquitoes, make sure you wash your feet.

[Image: Flickr user kainet]MC