A new approach to fighting malaria

May 31, 2019 — Each year, more than 200 million people around the world are infected with malaria and more than 400,000 die. For the past two decades, the most successful method of malaria prevention has involved treating bed nets with long-lasting insecticides that kill mosquitoes. But that progress is being threatened as mosquitoes increasingly grow resistant to the most commonly used insecticides.

Now, new Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health research offers a potential fresh approach to fighting malaria: directly target the parasite responsible for the disease. A recent study showed that mosquitoes that landed on surfaces coated with the antimalarial compound atovaquone were completely blocked from developing Plasmodium falciparum, the parasite that causes malaria. The study was led by Flaminia Catteruccia, professor of immunology and infectious diseases and Doug Paton , a research fellow at the Harvard Chan School. In this week’s episode we sit down with Paton to discuss the findings—and how they could be used to make progress in the fight against malaria.

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Sex, Drugs & Mosquitoes (Harvard Public Health magazine)

photo: Doug Paton