The first mosquito cell atlas is published now in Science, where MIMS director, Oliver Billker, is one of the senior authors
MOSQUITO IMMUNE SYSTEM MAPPED TO HELP FIGHT MALARIA
Scientists have created the first cell atlas of mosquito immune cells, to understand how mosquitoes fight malaria and other infections. Researchers from the Wellcome Sanger Institute, Umeå University, Sweden and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), USA, discovered new types of mosquito immune cells, including a rare cell type that could be involved in limiting malaria infection. They also identified molecular pathways implicated in controlling the malaria parasite.
Published today (27 August, 2020) in Science, the findings offer opportunities for uncovering novel ways to prevent mosquitoes from spreading the malaria parasite to humans and break the chain of malaria transmission. The atlas will also be a valuable resource for researchers trying to understand and control other mosquito-borne diseases such as Dengue or Zika.
Malaria is a life-threatening disease that affects more than 200 million people worldwide and caused an estimated 405,000 deaths in 2018 alone, the majority of which were children under five*. It is caused by Plasmodium parasites, which are spread via the bites of female Anopheles mosquitoes. Breaking the chain of transmission from human to mosquito to human is key for reducing the burden of malaria.