- Malaria is a
serious illness that is caused by Plasmodium and spread by female
- Spraying the
hormone dibenzoyl hydrazine (DBH) could disrupt the life cycle of the
mosquito and prevent the spread of the parasite Plasmodium.
- Mosquitoes that became resistant to pesticides could be controlled by
the use of this hormone, promising better control.
Disruptions in hormone
signaling can affect the ability of mosquitoes to transmit malaria-causing
parasite, according to a study published in the Journal PLOS
. This study
could provide a new target for therapy, which could prevent the spread of the
parasite by the mosquito.
is a disease caused by mosquito-borne
, and it results
in the development of fever, chills with flu-like symptoms. In 2015,
- 214 million new
cases were identified
- 438,000 people
died due to malaria
- 1500 new case are
detected in the U.S every year
The malarial parasite
gets lodged in the saliva of the mosquito as the mosquito feeds on the blood of
an infected individual. When the mosquito feeds on another individual, the
parasite is transmitted.
‘Spraying dibenzoyl hydrazine(DBH) hormone at home could stop mosquito breeding.’
should be treated as it could lead to the development of cerebral malaria
is characterized by brain swelling and, ultimately, death. The disease is
rampant in Sub-Saharan areas as well as in South Asian regions, and people from
other countries are found to be at a high risk if they visit one of these
There are concerted
efforts by both public and Government organizations to prevent the spread of
disease by spraying pesticides. However, mosquitoes are becoming increasingly
resistant to these chemicals, necessitating a better method of control.
the Ability to Transmit Parasite
Flaminia Catteruccia and
colleagues from The Harvard Chan School of Public Health aimed at disrupting
the ability of the mosquito to transmit the parasites.
The adult female Anopheles gambiae
which are the prime
vectors for the malarial parasite in Sub-Saharan Africa were exposed to a
chemical called DBH. The hormone DBH is found to affect the activity of the
hormone 20-hydroxyecdysone that is important for many important essential
biological processes associated with the mosquito.
The effects of DBH on
- Shortening of the
lifespan of the mosquito
- Reduction in the
number of mosquito eggs produced
- Does not allow
successful mating of the mosquitoes
- Development of
the Plasmodium parasite is
The hormone DBH that is
used to control the spread of the parasite could be sprayed onto mosquito nets
and indoors and it could prevent the spread of mosquitoes, as effectively as
pesticides once could.
Malaria is a
serious condition and the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) states
that nearly 3.2 billion people are at high risk for the disease as they live in
areas where the mosquito spreads. 106 countries are considered to be high risk
while the United States completely eradicated malaria in the early 1950s. The
incidence of malaria in the U.S is associated with travelers and immigrants who
visit malaria endemic areas for a holiday.
Methods to Prevent Malaria
- Mosquito Nets for Windows -
Doors, windows and beds are protected with mosquito nets that prevent the
entry of mosquitoes. However, accidental entry due when doors or windows
are opened results in the entry of mosquitoes and spread of disease.
- Preventing Stagnation of Water - Stagnant water leads to mosquito breeding and
increase in numbers. However, in Tropical regions and in rainy seasons, it
is difficult to prevent the stagnation of water.
- Pesticides -
Pesticides are routinely sprayed on to reduce the number of mosquitoes.
However, many mosquitoes are found to be resistant to these pesticides and
continue to flourish.
In a recent study on
mosquitoes as vectors in chikungunya fever
it was found that more women were
affected than men, since women were found more at home than men. The mosquitoes
tend to stay in a very close area, biting individuals within the area and
leading to the spread of disease. This has led to the belief that there should
be better techniques that are designed to restrict the spread of the disease.
The current study that
utilizes a hormone which affects the life cycle of a mosquito and which
prevents the development of the parasite Plasmodium
could prove to be effective in mosquito numbers and, thereby, infection rates.
- Malaria Facts - (https://www.cdc.gov/malaria/about/facts.html)
- What Is Malaria? - (https://www.malarianomore.org/pages/what-is-malaria)