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Mosquito

Health & Wellbeing Feature

Why bacteria are being recruited in the fight against dengue fever

It can be lethal, it makes patients ill for weeks and there’s no vaccine against it. Cases of dengue fever, whose symptoms usually include high temperature, body ache and fatigue, have increased 30-fold in the last 50 years. The World Health Organization estimates that around 50 to 100 million people are infected yearly and 2.5 billion people live in risk areas. After a successful trial run in Australia, a promising development that uses a common bacteria to fight dengue is about to be tried in one of the most affected countries in the world – Brazil.Read More

Around The Home

LG mosquito-repelling air conditioner aims to help reduce malaria cases in Africa

While promising vaccines and genetically-engineered mosquitoes are providing hope in the fight against malaria, it currently remains a major and potentially life-threatening problem in tropical and subtropical regions around the world. These regions are also hot and sticky, making LG's introduction of an air conditioner that it claims actively repels mosquitoes as it keeps the house cool a seemingly obvious blending of technologies. Read More

Health & Wellbeing

Genetically-engineered mosquitoes can't transmit malaria

Last year, Prof. Anthony James announced that he and his colleagues had genetically altered Aedes aegypti mosquitoes in a fashion that could drastically reduce their populations. In a nutshell, the altered genes cause the female mosquitoes to be born without wings – this makes it rather difficult for them to go foraging for blood, and turns them into easy prey for almost any predator. The non-biting males are born with wings, and subsequently go off and mate with unmodified females, passing the modified genes along to their offspring. Now, James has done some more genetic engineering, to create mosquitoes that can’t spread malaria.Read More

Good Thinking

Silica nanoparticles used to make mosquito-repellant clothing

For many of us, mosquitoes are an irritating pest that can ruin any number of outdoor activities. For many others, however, they are also spreaders of malaria – a disease which infected approximately 216 million people in 2010, according to an estimate by the World Health Organization. Repeatedly slathering on bug repellant is one way of dealing with the insects, although wearing clothing made from mosquito-repellant fabric sounds a lot more preferable. While existing mozzie-unfriendly garments have some limitations, Portuguese tech company Nanolabel has developed a new treatment process that it claims is far superior to traditional technology.Read More

Health & Wellbeing

Chemically altered osteoporosis drug kills malaria parasite in mice

With malaria still responsible for millions of untimely deaths in more than 90 countries each year, the search for effective antimalarial drugs, vaccines and mosquito repellents continues to heat up. Recently, researchers at the University of Illinois (UI), led by chemistry professor Eric Oldfield, found that a chemically-altered form of a commonly prescribed osteoporosis drug can easily enter red blood cells and dispatch malaria parasites without harming the host (in this case, a mouse). That's potentially huge news for the countless thousands who continue to suffer from this recurrent, debilitating and all-too-often fatal disease.Read More

Health & Wellbeing

Genetic genocide: Genetically altered mosquito warriors could wipe out humanity's biggest killer

War, plague, famine, heart disease, cigarettes, road trauma: six very effective killers of human beings. But they're all amateurs when their records are compared to the number one mass murderer of all time. The humble mosquito, and the deadly diseases it carries, is estimated to have been responsible for as many as 46 billion deaths over the history of our species. That staggering number is even more frightening in context - it means that mosquitoes are alleged to have killed more than half the humans that ever lived. So if any species deserves the full wrath of human technology, this is the one. And here, it seems, is how we might take our revenge - genetically modified strains of mosquito that are designed to cripple their own offspring and systematically destroy entire populations. And these mutant, auto-genocidal mozzies are already loose in the wild.Read More

Good Thinking

Light barrier used to repel mosquitoes

You're in the middle of a great chat with friends on a warm summer night, and then "ouch" a mosquito interrupts your conversation with a bite on your forearm. Experimental physicist Szabolcs Marka hopes to make this occurrence a thing of the past, but in this case it's not aerosol spray or roll-on-repellant keeping the bugs at bay, it's a wall of light. Read More

Health & Wellbeing

Mosquito inspires near-painless hypodermic needle

Mosquitoes are perhaps useful for something after all, besides feeding frogs. Along with his colleagues at Osaka’s Kansai University, mechanical engineer Seiji Aoyagi has created an almost pain-free hypodermic needle that is based on a mosquito’s proboscis. Perhaps surprisingly, the needle’s patient-friendliness comes from the fact that its outer surface is jagged, not smooth.Read More

Science

Mosquito trap targets females laying their eggs

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

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