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Fungus Fights Malaria
Emily Gertz, 13 Jun 05

Nature.com reports that UK and Netherlands researchers have found a promising fungus-based treatment to kill mosquitos, which have grown resistant to many insecticides used to combat them in malaria zones. In the UK tests, many mosquitos died after landing on a wall treated with an oil-based spray made from the Beauveria bassiana fungus, and the survivors were less able to transmit malaria to humans--an 80-fold reduction in the overall number of mosquitos available to infect. The Netherlands team sprayed cotton sheets with a fungus-oil mix, and tested them in rural Tanzanian homes. They found that the mosquitos landing on the sheets had shortened lifespans.

It could cost as little as $0.20 to treat a whole house with fungus, and swapping between fungus-based and other insecticide treatments could help reduce mosquito resistance. And if fungus oil is good on malaria, I wonder what promise it has for combatting West Nile virus in the U.S?

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