News & Events
Genetically Modified Fungus Cope With Malaria
- October 8, 2019
- Posted by: Wiley M. Wagner
- Category: Science
Today, genetic modification experts from the University of Maryland in the United States have demonstrated the first test results of one of their longest and most interesting projects – a genetically modified fungus aimed at destroying the malaria virus in African regions suffering from it. In particular, specialists have already carried out the first field tests outside the laboratories in the territory of a village in Burkina Faso in West Africa and found that their modified fungus actually copes with the destruction of the malaria virus, effectively penetrating the mosquito carriers and ignoring it all other types of insects and living creatures, which is important.
It is worth noting that we are talking about a fungus called Metarhizium pingshaensei, which is a natural antibiotic against the malaria virus in its natural habitat – however, in its altered genetic form, it shows even higher toxicity to malaria mosquitoes, with significantly less consumption of the specific volume of the fungus.
Experts point out that in the genetic modification the poisons of the North African scorpion and the Australian Pseudomonas spider were also used – and the ability not to touch other insects with their action, scientists are also obliged to change some genetic markers and features that affect malaria mosquitoes. According to preliminary results, already in the first two weeks with the help of this fungus it was possible to reduce the spread of malaria by about 45%, which is really a big and excellent indicator, especially given the rapid dynamics of malaria development.
Thus, inspired by the first success, specialists will surely want to try some other options and configurations of this fungus against malaria – it is expected that very soon specialists will begin the second phase of the genetic modification of the fungus in order to make it even more concentrated, which will save a good initial amount used fungal raw materials. In addition, they talk about the desire to reduce its cost.