Malaria has been with us since the begging of our existence as humans, and ever since then, it has been killing us. Malaria kills approximately 430,000 people a year and infects 219 million people per year (WHO, 2018). While it may seem fruitless to fight something that hundreds of years of research has not eradicated, we believe that control is possible.
Usually, the strategies of control tend to focus on the human link: trying to vaccinate people or prevent mosquitoes from transmitting the disease to humans. Our lab’s outlook, however, is to tackle the cycle of transmission at the insect level, trying to prevent malaria from taking up residence in the mosquito itself. If we can stop the mosquito from transmitting malaria, then mosquitoes will be annoying, but will not be deadly.
Malaria in a Heating Planet
Global temperatures are increasing, and one of the most dangerous effects from this is the increase in tropical disease. The twofold effects of a heating planet is the moment of non-endemic species to new regions and longer rainy seasons. Africa generally will be affected by longer seaseons, bringing more rain and with it more mosquitoes to carry the disease with them. In some very lucky areas, there is no malaria, such as in Nairobi, where it is too cold for An. gembaie to exist. For now.