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Malaria

Dr. Dawn Wesson, with the traps that attract egg-carrying female mosquitoes (Image: Tulane...

After malaria, dengue fever is the most serious mosquito-borne disease in the world. In an effort to curb its spread, researchers from New Orleans’ Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine have developed mosquito traps that attract and kill egg-bearing females. Using a US$4.6 million grant from The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the scientists plan to distribute 10,000 of the traps in Peru’s Iquitos region, an area known for dengue fever.  Read More

A female mosquito feeding on a human arm: could this pest's days be numbered?

To most Gizmag readers, mosquitoes are at most a pesky nuisance - for others of course, particularly in more tropical areas, they're a genuine killer, spreading all sorts of diseases as they feed on the blood of their victims. Either way, the mosquito female's habit of biting humans puts mozzies high on the list of most hated insects - so many will appreciate this study from Kansas State University, in which researchers have successfully used nanoparticles impregnated with gene-silencing dsRNA to specifically target particular genes in mosquito larvae. A small supply of these nanoparticles, added to a still water breeding ground, can kill mozzie larvae as they grow, or at the least, render them much more susceptible to insecticides… And the process is fascinating.  Read More

The glass tile on the end of the syringe contains live vaccine suspended in dried sugar. P...

Vaccination has pretty much rid the entire western world of some of its worst child-killing diseases - but a lot of these nasties are still causing death and debilitation in developing countries. There's one simple reason: because the vaccines contain living strains of the viruses they attack, they need to be kept continuously refrigerated all the way from production to the point of use - and that's an expensive and sometimes insurmountable logistical nightmare. Which is why this invention could save literally millions of lives...  Read More

Fighting malaria with SMS

In Africa a million people, mostly pregnant women and young children, die every year due to malaria despite the fact that the disease is mostly curable. The problem lies in that life saving drugs are not available when and where it is needed most. "SMS for Life" is a new Short Messaging Service (SMS) based malaria medicine stocking system developed by IBM, Novartis, Vodafone and Roll Back Malaria partnership that aims to solve this problem. It uses a combination of existing mobile phones, existing SMS service and combined it with intuitive websites to track and manage the supply of drugs to ensure stocks do not run out.  Read More

A female Anopheles albimanus mosquito - a vector of malaria, predominantly in Central Amer...

There were 247 million cases of malaria and 881,000 deaths worldwide from the disease in 2006, making it one of the world’s most common infectious diseases and an enormous public health problem, particularly in poverty stricken areas. We’ve previously looked at various proposals to fight the disease, from targeting the mosquitoes that spread it, to research into a possible vaccine. Now researchers at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute in Melbourne, Australia, working in collaboration with researchers from the US, Japan and Canada, have renewed hopes by creating a weakened strain of the malaria parasite that will be used as a live vaccine against the disease. Human trials will begin in 2010.  Read More

Bullseye!
 Pic credit: Intellectual Ventures

March 18, 2009 Mosquitoes have plagued mankind since time immemorial. For many they’re just annoying pests that leave an itchy reminder of their bloodsucking ways, but for much of the world’s population they’re carriers of deadly disease – malaria in particular. So far man’s efforts to combat mosquitoes have so far proved fruitless but the Wall Street Journal is reporting that researchers in the US are looking to take the battle into the space age by using lasers to kill the nasty little buggers.  Read More

Vaccine hope for malaria

May 25, 2007 Malaria is a public health problem in more than 90 countries and it is by far the world's most important tropical parasitic disease. It kills more people than HIV or any other communicable disease except tuberculosis. It infects 400 million people every year and kills one person every 30 seconds, with the vast majority under five years old. Now, just over 100 years since Britain's Sir Ronald Ross was awarded the Nobel Prize for finally proving that malaria is transmitted by mosquitoes, researchers at the University of Nottingham believe they have made a significant breakthrough in the search for an effective vaccine.  Read More

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