As a potentially fatal tropical disease which can develop complications very quickly, the fight against malaria is still ongoing. While diagnostics have improved over the years – pictured is a micrograph of malaria-infected tissue, the malaria parasites can be seen as dark spots within the red blood cells (top) – preventing the spread of malaria can be tricky. This is due in large to mosquito control methods, which are becoming less effective as mosquitoes are building up resistance to current insecticides. Researchers have now developed electrostatic netting, which when sprayed with insecticide, will bind to the molecules through charge interactions. The effectiveness of the insecticide is significantly improved when bound to this netting, and tests have revealed that it will kill off even highly resistant mosquitoes, using only low dosages. Usefully, this netting can be applied to walls or mosquito traps, and is currently being tested in rural homes in Tanzania.
Written by Helen Thomas
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