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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

UK : Mutant fungus in malaria fight

Article from Shanghai Daily, excerpt :

" IN a cramped London laboratory filled with test tubes, bacteria and mosquitoes, scientists are trying to engineer a new weapon in the battle against malaria: a mutant fungus.

For years, Angray Kang at Westminster University and colleagues have been testing whether they could genetically tweak a fungus to kill the malaria parasite carried by mosquitoes.

Now they've found that in lab experiments, mosquitoes exposed to the fungus show a sharp drop in levels of the parasite. If it works that way in the wild, that should make it harder for the disease to infect people.

Kang said the mutant fungus could be sprayed onto walls and bednets like insecticides and could be made for a comparable cost.

He said the same process of genetic modification could also be used to target other insect-spread diseases such as dengue and West Nile virus. The research was done together with scientists at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and was funded by the US National Institutes of Health. Early results were published recently in the journal Science."

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