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.
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.
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. He says the drugs will next start safety trials in human volunteers. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.
Story by Bob Hirshon