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Endectocides

January 6, 2009

Certain drugs can make human blood toxic to disease-carrying insects.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):
Killing mosquitoes with your blood. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Vaccines can protect people from insect-borne diseases like malaria. But you can’t vaccinate everyone. That’s why scientists are considering drugs called endectocides, which make human blood temporarily toxic to disease-carrying insects. In Senegal, Colorado State University molecular biologist Brian Foy and his colleague Massamba Sylla are testing a potential endectocide that people already take to kill parasitic worms.

BRIAN FOY (Colorado State University):
If, simultaneously, it’s killing the mosquitoes that are biting them that are also transmitting malaria, then you have a dual purpose drug: basically, something that can not only take care of the parasites in your body but also prevent parasites from being transmitted around the community.

HIRSHON:
If it does, the next question is how often to give it out, since the drug clears from the body in a couple weeks. I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the Science Society.