Posted on by Dr. Francis Collins
It turns out that one of the most innovative and effective strategies to fight malaria might involve harnessing a bacterium called Wolbachia. This naturally occurring genus of bacteria infects many species of insects, including mosquitoes. The reason this is important is that Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes become resistant to the parasite Plasmodium falciparum, which causes some 219 million cases of malaria worldwide and more than 660,000 deaths . Wouldn’t it be amazing if Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes blocked the transmission of malaria?
Unfortunately, Wolbachia don’t normally pass from generation to generation in Anopheles, the mosquitoes that spread malaria. But that hurdle has now been overcome.