Genetically Enhanced Fungus is Killing Malaria Mosquitos

Scientists have created a genetically modified fungus that produces spider toxin to rapidly kill malaria-spreading mosquitos.

Malaria Carrier / Image: Medical News Today
Malaria Carrier / Image: Medical News Today

The pharmaceutical world has been obsessed with finding ways to ward off mosquitos and the diseases they carry. We’ve seen a pill that makes your blood lethal to mosquitos, Bill Gates’ genetically modified mosquitos that kill future generations of mosquitos, and even the use of dubstep music to deter mosquitos from feasting on flesh. A recent BBC article contained the latest trend: mosquito-killing fungus.

A team at University of Maryland identified a fungus that naturally infects Anopheles mosquitos that spread malaria. Next, they enhanced the fungus to produce a toxin found in funnel-web spider venom once it’s inside a mosquito, effectively killing it. The fungus was tested in a 6,500 sqft fake village, surrounded by a double layer of mosquito netting, that the researchers built in Burkina Faso in West Africa. In just 45 days, the mosquito population decreased 99%.

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