Malaria is an extremely infectious disease caused by the parasite Plasmodium Falciparun. It is mainly prevalent in tropical areas of the world, such as India and parts of Africa. Female Anopheles mosquitoes are the vehicle for transmission of this disease: male mosquitoes do not feed on blood, and do not contribute to the transmission of Malaria. Until now, antimalarial drugs have been the sole preventative measure for the disease, and there are no vaccines to reduce the risk of malarial infection.

Researchers from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD, USA, have genetically engineered a malaria-resistant mosquito that could help prevent the spread of the disease to epidemic proportions. The manipulated mosquitoes drew blood from malaria infected mice, and were more resistant to the parasite than the unaltered mosquitoes. Over repeated trials, the experimenters found that the malaria-resistant mosquitoes remained healthier and a greater percentage of them survived than the control group of mosquitoes, suggesting that over time, the resistant mosquitoes could replace the non-resistant ones. The resistant mosquitoes were administered a much higher dosage of the malaria parasite than they would normally encounter in their natural environment. However, the researchers hope to develop a stable, healthy line of malaria-resistant mosquitoes that they can eventually release into the wild and study in their natural environment. This is an invaluable development in a field where no effective treatments are available.

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