Innovative tools are needed to complement the existing approach for malaria elimination. Gene drive mosquitoes are one potential new technology in the control of malaria vectors. Target Malaria is one of the research projects developing this technology, and in July 2019, the project proceeded to an important step for this evaluation pathway: the small-scale release of non-gene drive sterile male mosquitoes in a village in Burkina Faso. In addition to the entomological and laboratory work to prepare for this important milestone, significant community and stakeholder engagement work was done. The existing guidelines on gene drive mosquito provide an overall framework for such engagement work. However, they do not provide a road map on how to proceed or what benchmarks should be used to assess this work.
Long-lasting efficacy of insecticide-treated nets is a balance between adhesion, retention and migration of insecticide to the surface of netting fibres. ICON® Maxx is a twin-sachet ‘home-treatment kit’ of pyrethroid plus binding agent, recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) for long-lasting, wash-fast treatment of polyester nets. While knitted polyester netting is widely used, fine woven polyethylene netting is increasingly available and nets made of cotton and nylon are common in Africa and Asia. It is important to investigate whether ICON Maxx is able to fulfill the WHO criteria of long-lasting treatment on a range of domestic fabrics to widen the scope for malaria protection.
The impacts and limitations of personal protection measures against exposure to vectors of malaria and other mosquito-borne pathogens depend on behavioural interactions between humans and mosquitoes. Therefore, understanding where and when they overlap in time and space is critical. Commonly used approaches for calculating behaviour-adjusted estimates of human exposure distribution deliberately use soft classification of where and when people spend their time, to yield nuanced and representative distributions of mean exposure to mosquito bites across entire human populations or population groups.
Zoological gardens contain unique configurations of exotic and endemic animals and plants that create a diverse range of developing sites and potential sources of blood meals for local mosquitoes. This may imply unusual interspecific pathogen transmission risks involving zoo vertebrates, like avian malaria to captive penguins. Understanding mosquito ecology and host feeding patterns is necessary to improve mosquito control and disease prevention measures in these environments.
We investigate how technology 'co-development' (between researchers, stakeholders and local communities) is framed in practice by those developing gene drive mosquitos for malaria eradication. Our case study focuses on UK and Mali-based researchers planning to undertake the first field trials in Mali of gene drive mosquitos for malaria control. While they and the wider gene drive research community are explicitly committed to the principle of co-development, how this is framed and practiced is not clear.
Because mosquitoes are a public health concern, several chemical insect repellents have been created and used for many years. While some of these products, such as DEET and permethrin, are effective at controlling mosquito populations, their excessive use may lead to animal, human, and environmental harm if applied improperly. Understanding the life cycles of mosquitoes, their feeding preferences, and their responses to natural plant extracts could enable scientists to develop more environmentally safe but still effective insect repellents.
Pyriproxyfen (PPF), an insect growth hormone mimic is widely used as a larvicide and in some second-generation bed nets, where it is combined with pyrethroids to improve impact. It has also been evaluated as a candidate for auto-dissemination by adult mosquitoes to control Aedes and Anopheles species. We examined whether PPF added to larval habitats of pyrethroid-resistant malaria vectors can modulate levels of resistance among emergent adult mosquitoes.
The correct identification of mosquito vectors is often hampered by the presence of morphologically indiscernible sibling species. The Maculipennis complex is one of these groups that include both malaria vectors of primary importance and species of low/negligible epidemiological relevance, of which distribution data in Italy are outdated. Our study was aimed at providing an updated distribution of Maculipennis complex in Northern Italy through the sampling and morphological/molecular identification of specimens from five regions.
The African Union’s High-Level Panel on Emerging Technologies identified gene drive mosquitoes as a priority technology for malaria elimination. The first field trials are expected in 5–10 years in Uganda, Mali or Burkina Faso. In preparation, regional and international actors are developing risk governance guidelines which will delineate the framework for identifying and evaluating risks. Scientists and bioethicists have called for African stakeholder involvement in these developments, arguing the knowledge and perspectives of those people living in malaria-afflicted countries is currently missing. However, few African stakeholders have been involved to date, leaving a knowledge gap about the local social-cultural as well as ecological context in which gene drive mosquitoes will be tested and deployed. This study investigates and analyses Ugandan stakeholders’ hopes and concerns about gene drive mosquitoes for malaria control and explores the new directions needed for risk governance.
Plasmodium cynomolgi is a simian malaria parasite that has been reported as a naturally acquired human infection. The present study aims to systematically review reports on naturally acquired P. cynomolgi in humans, mosquitoes, and macaques to provide relevant data for pre-emptive surveillance and preparation in the event of an outbreak of zoonotic malaria in Southeast Asia.