Adding liquid soap may increase the potency of some of the pesticides used on malaria-carrying populations. mosquitoes. The discovery is detailed in a study published on November 17 in the journal PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases and offers a tool in the fight against the disease.
Malaria is most common in Asia, Latin America, and sub-Saharan Africa and is caused by several parasite species which are transmitted by bites of infected women Anopheles mosquitoes. It causes severe fatigue, fever, headaches and chills and can be fatal. When treated with the right medication, such as artemether-lumefantrine, it can be cured and the malaria parasites can be completely eliminated from the body. The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that there were 241 million malaria cases worldwide and 627,000 deaths in 2020.
“Over the past two decades, mosquitoes have become strongly resistant to most insecticides,” said study co-author and evolutionary biologist at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), Colince Kamdem. said in a statement. “It is now a race to develop alternative compounds with new modes of action.”
Before coming to UTEP, Kamdem worked at the Cameroon Infectious Diseases Research Center, where he first saw the potential potency of soap during some routine insecticide testing. A special class of insecticide called neonicotinoids has proven to be a potential alternative targeting mosquito populations that show resistance to current insecticides. However, they may have negative effects on bees if not used carefully and neonicotinoids do not kill some species of mosquitoes unless their potency is increased.
World Health Organization Protocols recommend adding a seed oil-based product to insecticides to test a mosquito’s susceptibility. When the compound was added, Kamdem noted that it was more effective than when the insecticide was used alone.
“That compound belongs to the same class of substances as kitchen soap,” Kamdem said. “We thought, ‘Why don’t we try products that have the same properties?'”
The team selected three inexpensive linseed oil-based soaps that are readily available in sub-Saharan African countries. They added the soaps to four different neonicotinoids. In all cases, the power was increased.
“All three brands of soap increase mortality by 30 to 100 percent compared to when the insecticides are used alone,” said study co-author Ashu Fred. said in a statement. Fred is a PhD student at the University of Yaoundé I in Cameroon.
They also tested a class of insecticides called pyrethroids. This class did not see the additional benefits of soap reinforcement. They hope to conduct additional tests to see exactly how much soap is needed to improve insecticides.
“We would love to create a soap and insecticide formulation that can be used indoors in Africa and is healthy for users,” Kamdem said. “It is not known whether such a formulation will adhere to materials such as mosquito nets, but the challenge is promising and very exciting.”
Malaria was once endemic in the US, but it was eradicated in the 1970s. However, the CDC issued a health advisory in June after at least four people in Florida and one in Texas contracted local cases of malaria. The disease is more common in warm climates and some scientists worry that as global temperatures continue to rise, more regions will be affected by malaria. TO 2022 study published in Nature found that climate change can exacerbate 58 percent of the infectious diseases that humans come into contact with worldwide.