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Oral Insecticides

July 4, 2018

An oral pesticide could turn the tables on biting insects.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (Host):

Killing biting bugs with drugs. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

A drug that makes people lethal to any insects that bite them may offer a new weapon in the fight against malaria, Zika and other insect-borne diseases. In the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, California Institute for Biomedical Research scientist Matthew Tremblay and his colleagues report that a group of drugs called isoxazolines can be taken in pill form, and that a single dose could work for two to three months.

HIRSHON:

MATTHEW TREMBLAY (California Institute for Biomedical Research):

And that was kind of a magic number for us, because three months is about the duration of the malaria season.

HIRSHON:

These are the same drugs now given to livestock and pets to kill insects that bite them. Tremblay says that treating just thirty percent of a population could reduce the spread of malaria or other diseases by over ninety percent. ┬áHe says the drugs will next start safety trials in human volunteers. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.

Story by Bob Hirshon