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Trojan Cow

August 24, 2017

An unlikely host delivers a lethal punch to malarial mosquitoes.



Livestock vs. mosquitoes. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

According to myth, the ancient Greeks gifted a giant horse to the city of Troy, but filled it with soldiers. They then attacked, leading to Troy’s downfall. Now, scientists are testing what they call “Trojan Cows”, livestock treated with human-scented chemicals that trick malarial mosquitoes into biting them instead of people. The insects then die due to the effects of an antiparasitic medication given to the animals.


Usually mosquitoes only bite humans. Now we can make cows and goats smell like humans and mosquitoes bite them. That way we break the cycle of transmission of malaria.


Agenor Mafra-Neto of ISCA Technologies explains that the livestock don’t suffer from malaria, which kills more than 500,000 people per year. He presented the research at a meeting of the American Chemical Society. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.

Story by Susanne Bard

Trojan Cow