Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Using a fungus to stop malaria

A Tanzanian health institute is testing the use of a fungus to stop the spread of malaria. The Daily News Leonard Mwakalebla reports on the research going on at the IFAKARA Health institute.

IFAKARA Health Institute (IHI) has embarked on research experiment of infecting mosquitoes with fungus with view to killing the insect and subsequently combat malaria disease. In an exclusive interview with the 'Daily News', the institute’s Acting Director Dr Salim Abdulla named the fungus as Beavaria Bassiana and Metarhizium Anosiplial that live in soil.

He said the experiment would take between one and two years and that preliminary findings had showed that the fungus kill mosquitoes. Dr Abdulla said house experiment would be followed by village wide experimentation before embarking on large scale experimentation.

“If it will become a success, it could become one of the easiest, safe and effective interventions of controlling malaria infections in the country” he noted. When he visited the institute last month, President Jakaya Kikwete was impressed by the experiment and commended the institute’s for its innovations.

Dr Abdulla said the institute was committed to finding lasting solution to malaria disease in the country considering the impact of the disease on the nation. According to him, IHI has developed a tool to identify high risks community with urinary schistosomiasis. The tool was validated in seven countries and it is now in WHO Schisto Manual.

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