Could spider venom eliminate Malaria!

Tuesday 01st October 2019 12:56 EDT

Africa, once known as “Dark Continent” still suffers from Dark Age illnesses that have been eradicated from rest of the world. It includes tuberculosis, (TB), cholera and deadly yellow fever, rare but visitors to certain African countries need vaccination. 

But most common, widespread and deadly, in terms of lives lost is malaria. 

Although anti-malaria tablets have been available for decades and new, more effective ones were made available recently, never the less these tablets causes severe diarrhoea, not preferred precaution for most visitors. 

In any case who wants to take daily dose of medicine when on holidays!

Malaria is more of a medical problem for local people than visitors, especially children, elderly and weak, responsible for more loss of lives than any other illness. 

It seems permanent eradication of malaria may not be far away. None other than spider’s venom, genetically modified fungus from Australian Blue Mountain funnel-web spiders may provide long-awaited answer. 

In trial in an African country this fungus killed 99% of mosquitos within two months. Moreover the fungus only targets mosquitos, is safe for other insects.

But million dollar question is, how long before mosquitos develop resistance to this fungus, just as humans are getting immune to antibiotics? More effective solution is to stop them breeding. 

As mosquitoes breed in pools of stagnant water, common only during few monsoon months, it can be easily controlled by spraying these waters with anti-malaria solutions that kills eggs before they can hatch.

Kumudini Valambia

By email

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