Malaria is still one of the world's deadliest diseases, and the effort to stop it involves everything from lasers to nanotech. New discoveries reveal that the trick to stopping malaria may involve spreading a disease that already lives within mosquitoes.
It turns out that mosquitos have an Enterobacter bacterium living in their midgut — a bacterium that's incredibly hostile to malaria. In its current form, only a couple of parasites need to escape the bacterium in order for the disease to spread. But the mosquitos with the Enterobacter are less likely to carry malaria, as the bacterium targets the parasites when they are in an egg-like state.
This has prompted researchers to develop an Enterobacter-like isolate, called Esp_Z, which is markedly more effective. With more research, a boosted version of this bacterium could be introduced, and hopefully put an end to countless malarial deaths that happen every year.