Tuesday, November 8, 2016
Altering the ‘Flavor’ of Humans Could Help Fight Malaria
A new study by Johns Hopkins researchers suggests that a specialized area of the mosquito brain mixes tastes with smells to create unique and preferred flavors. The findings advance the possibility, they say, of identifying a substance that makes “human flavor” repulsive to the malaria-bearing species of the mosquitoes, so instead of feasting on us, they keep the disease to themselves, potentially saving an estimated 450,000 lives a year worldwide.
“All mosquitoes, including the one that transmits malaria, use their sense of smell to find a host for a blood meal. Our goal is to let the mosquitoes tell us what smells they find repulsive and use those to keep them from biting us,” says Christopher Potter, Ph.D., assistant professor of neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
Source & further reading:http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/media/releases/altering_the_flavor_of_humans_could_help_fight_malaria
Image: a female Anopheles gambiae mosquito with olfactory neurons on the antennae, maxillary palp and labella labeled in green.
Credit: Olena Riabinina and Courtney Akitake, Johns Hopkins Medicine