The study, by Imperial College London researchers, suggests the mosquito can be reduced or even eliminated in local areas without impacting the ecosystem.
Locally eliminating this one species of mosquito could drastically cut cases of malaria, although the team note that more research is needed in the field to test that the ecosystem is not significantly perturbed.
Malaria - Cases - Deaths - Children - Years
In 2016, there were around 216 million malaria cases and an estimated 445,000 deaths, mostly of children under five years old. There are many strategies currently being proposed to eliminate malaria, and one promising solution is using genetically modified mosquitoes to suppress local populations of mosquitoes.
In sub-Saharan Africa, where the majority of malaria cases occur, only a handful of mosquito species carry malaria out of the hundreds present. An international team of researchers led by Imperial, called Target Malaria, are targeting one of these species, Anopheles gambiae, for possible suppression in the future using genetic engineering.
Team - Need - Impact - Gambiae - Report
However, before this is attempted the team need to predict the impact of locally suppressing An. gambiae. Now, in a report published today in Medical and Veterinary Entomology, the team have reviewed previous studies into this species of mosquito to see how it fits into the ecosystem.
They found that some animals do eat An. gambiae, but those that do also eat other species of mosquito and other insects, meaning they do not need A. gambiae to survive.
Author - Dr - Tilly - Collins - Centre
Lead author Dr Tilly Collins, from the Centre for Environmental Policy at Imperial, said: "As adults, An. gambiae mosquitoes are small, hard to catch, most mobile at night and not very juicy, so they are not a rewarding prey for both insect and vertebrate predators. Many do...
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