New species of mosquito resistant to insecticides has been discovered in Mali, jeopardizing existing malaria prevention techniques.
According to Time, the new specie is an evolutionary response to introduction of insecticides through mosquito nets, in communities which were earlier ravaged by malaria. While the nets helped cut down malarial deaths by 47 percent, they have also caused mosquitoes to evolve and survive.
“Growing resistance has been observed for some time. Recently it has reached a level at some localities in Africa where it is resulting in the failure of the nets to provide meaningful control, and it is my opinion that this will increase,” said the study’s lead researcher Gregory Lanzaro at University of California, Davis, in a press release.
“It’s ‘super’ with respect to its ability to survive exposure to the insecticides on treated bed nets,” he added.
The new specie is a result of interbreeding between Anopheles gambiae specie that is primarily responsible for causing malaria in Africa and Anophele coluzzii, UPI reported.
“What we provide in this new paper is an example of one unusual mechanism that has promoted the rapid evolution of insecticide resistance in one of the major malaria mosquito species,” Lanzaro said while he pointed out an urgent to develop other means of preventing malaria.
Some of the methods said to be under development include use of bacteria and fungi to kill the vectors, besides genetic transformation of mosquitoes to render them unable to carry malarial parasite.