Researchers from Vanderbilt University had launched a new research project to prevent the spread of malaria by repelling the mosquitoes from attacking the people. The research will aim to use the odor cues that attract mosquitoes and deflect it from biting the human populations.
Malaria is a disease caused by parasites and is spread by the mosquitoes that bite an infected person and goes on to bite a healthy person and pass on the infection. Fever, headache, vomiting and other flu like symptoms characterize the condition. The malaria attack if not treated on time can be life threatening to the patient.
Efforts have been made worldwide to eradicate the disease but because of its nature of spreading, steps to control the disease faces enormous challenges in terms of infrastructure and human resource. The new research hopes to overcome these barriers in controlling the spread of the disease in a novel and sustainable way.
Researchers hope to develop chemical compounds that will affect the mosquitos' sense of smell in being able to identify a human target. The effectiveness of such a form of olfactory strategy had already been tested with the African tsetse fly without the harmful effects of using the insecticides over large tracts of land. Researchers are hoping to replicate their feat and develop non-toxic chemicals that will act as a buffer between the insect and its human targets.
Reference: Vanderbilt University, news release, June 2005