World Mosquito Day – a Wellcome Perspective

argylesock says… I’m a day late with this reblog. How many more people have died of malaria in that day?

Wellcome Trust Blog

Mosquito netToday is World Mosquito Day and we commemorate the discovery back in 1897 of the link between mosquitoes and malaria. Since this discovery major progress has been achieved in malaria control with insecticide treated bednets, but the growing threat of insecticide resistance threatens these gains.  Marta Tufet, International Activities Adviser at the Trust, explains more.

I lay on my bed in a Ugandan hotel at 3am for the fourth night in a row, with the incessant sound of a mosquito buzzing in my ear, clearly not fully satisfied despite having feasted on much of my body already. My sleep-deprived brain kept flashing images of “how to” guides for making bed-net out of hotel curtains juxtaposed with visions of mosquito armies lining up by my bed to take revenge for the years I spent dissecting their relatives at the Imperial College insectary in a stubborn quest to understand the intricate details…

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About argylesock

I wrote a PhD about veterinary parasitology so that's the starting point for this blog. But I'm now branching out into other areas of biology and into popular science writing. I'll write here about science that happens in landscapes, particularly farmland, and about science involving interspecific interactions. Datasets and statistics get my attention. Exactly where this blog will lead? That's a journey that I'm on and I hope you'll come with me.
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7 Responses to World Mosquito Day – a Wellcome Perspective

  1. EqFe says:

    When I was in the Amazon, we slept comfortably under mosquito netting. So far they haven’t developed a way to bite through it. Hopefully the Gates Foundation and others will develop vaccines for Malaria, Dengue fever etc.

    • argylesock says:

      I know people who do that kind of science. Malaria research is never funded as much as research into, say, cancer or heart disease. I agree that effective vaccines against malaria and dengue could be wonderful. They’d need to be distributed to the people who need them. That might be an even bigger hurdle than funding the research.

    • argylesock says:

      PS I forgot to mention vaccine resistance. Pathogens can evolve fast, so that last year’s vaccine becomes outdated.

  2. Finn says:

    Interesting post Sam. Short of eradication of the Anopheles mosquito and/or Plasmodium falciparum will it ever be possible to protect everyone from malaria? Probably not – it’s not the way it’s meant to be, as you said, even a vaccine may become less effective. What then? Could we be force the parasite to mutate in a way that may enable it to utilise vectors other than Anopheles? Food for thought.

    • argylesock says:

      I expect you’re familiar with the sterile male technique – releasing male mozzies that mate, but don’t fertilise. I hope to get around to researching that. If it’s as good as it sounds, this may be an example of when GM comes good. Or are the males sterilised in some other way? Irradiating them, perhaps.

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