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The World in Medicine
April 21, 2004

Blocking Malaria Transmission

JAMA. 2004;291(15):1826. doi:10.1001/jama.291.15.1826-b

Scientists from Germany have identified three mosquito genes that control how the insect's immune system responds to the malarial parasite. The work could help lead to new antimalaria strategies by using the mosquito's own immune system to block transmission of the infection from mosquitoes to humans (Science. 2004;303:2030-2032) .

Two of the genes encode proteins that protect malaria parasites developing in the insect's midgut; when these genes were inactivated, the insect's immune system attacked and destroyed up to 97% of the parasites. The third gene helps mosquitoes defend themselves against the malaria parasite; when this gene was silenced, there was a fourfold increase in the number of parasites developing in the mosquito's midgut.

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