Saturday, November 18, 2017
Pigs Against Malaria.Mosquito vector-borne diseases are serious global health threats. Malaria alone claims the lives of about 600,000 people annually. With such high death tolls, controlling vectors and the pathogens that they carry is of critical importance. Ivermectin is a broad spectrum antiparasitic medication that can be used both internally and topically for the treatment of myriad parasites, including filarial worms, gastrointestinal parasites, and scabies. And, as it turns out, ivermectin can even kill mosquitoes. Scientists have shown that having humans in an entire village take ivermectin can disrupt transmission of malaria and other vector-borne diseases.However, it can be logistically difficult to administer these prophylactic doses to enough people to have an effect, and there is also concern about the safety of having continuous ivermectin blood levels high enough to knock down biting mosquitoes. A novel alternative to mass human ivermectin administration comes from researchers at the University of Barcelona. They put soft ivermectin-releasing silicone implants under the skin of pigs. These implants function in much the same way that oral ivermectin does in humans, by killing mosquitoes and potentially disrupting disease transmission pathways.Pigs Against Malaria.