Researchers at the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KeMRI) in collaboration with fellow researchers from the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine have identified the use of an old drug, which when ingested makes the human blood poisonous to mosquitoes.
The drug Ivermecting has already been in existence and cheaply available. However, it has all along been used to treat diseases like roundworms, river blindness, and the leading cause of elephantiasis.
Based on the medical application of Ivermecting drug, the scientists have all along known it makes the human blood poisonous to pathogens. It was until recently that the scientists explored its use in combating malaria that they discovered it also affected the mosquitoes.
As it works out when a patient ingests Ivermecting, your blood turns toxic, and the female mosquitoes need to drink a lot of blood to support their egg formation. When a mosquito bites a person with Ivermecting drug running in their veins, the little insects gets sick to the point it no longer can bite and dies within 14 days.
KeMRI established that giving patients between two-to-four times the dose above the standard dose of Ivermecting was still safe for humans, but extremely lethal to the mosquitoes. When you ingest this drug, your blood will be fatal to the ‘vampire-insects’ for up to 28 days. That is to say, people living in the endemic area will require to take the pill every month to keep them poisonous to the mosquitoes.
“Ivermectin has the potential to play a role in malaria elimination efforts and will address the current challenges of targeting mosquitoes that are resistant to the standard insecticides used on long-lasting insecticidal nets and indoor residual spraying as well as mosquitoes that bite and rest outdoors,” said Dr. Yeri Kombe, the Director at KeMRI.
Dr. Kombe believes their result will be validated upon wide-scale deployment of the solutions. Though currently, their discovery has already been published in last week edition of The Laneet Infectious Diseases, a global leading medical journal.
The researchers propose that high doses of Ivermecting should be added to the already existing antimalarial drugs. So that a sick patient is not only cured of the malaria pathogen in their bloodstreams, but their blood itself become a mobile bio-weapon against the malaria-carrying mosquitoes.
The first author of the paper, Dr. Menno Smitm says the Ivermecting-filled pill could be administered to the masses. That would imply the people who have received the drug could be encouraged to let themselves be bitten by mosquitoes.
“We worked with colleagues from Imperial College London, who used our results in a mathematical model, which predicts that the addition of high dose Ivermectin increases the impact on malaria reduction by potentially as much as 61%,” said Dr. Smitm.