Sunday, March 19, 2006

Fungus fights malaria

Mould in your house may keep malaria at bay by killing off the mosquitoes which carry the contagion. Researchers at the Imperial College in London found that an oil-based live spore (found in mould) spray could be a viable alternative to the insecticides to which mosquitoes have grown resistant. The fungi have already been successfully used to keep agricultural pests at bay. The oil-based spray of the Beauveria bassiana fungus either kills or maims the mosquitoes so that they can’t spread malaria.
A field study in Tanzania showed that the fungal spray slashed the lifespan of the pests and significantly cut down malaria in the endemic zone. The biggest advantage of the fungal insecticide is its low cost.

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