From CBS SF Bay Area
March 7, 2019
TUCSON, Ariz. (CBS Local) — Scientists say they’ve taken a major step toward developing a “mosquito birth control” drug to curb the spread of Zika, malaria and other diseases blamed for hundreds of thousands of deaths a year.
Researchers at the University of Arizona say they discovered a potential protein that exists only in female mosquitoes, which is critical for their young to hatch. When the scientists blocked the protein, the female laid eggs with defective shells causing the embryos inside to die.
The team said developing drugs that target the protein could provide a way to reduce mosquito populations without harming beneficial insects such as bees.
“It’s basically birth control because even though the mosquito doesn’t die, she won’t be able to lay viable eggs for the rest of her life,” Roger Miesfeld, head of the university’s department of chemistry and biochemistry, told the Arizona Daily Sun.