Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Prevent Selection for Resistance By Targeting Post-Reproductive Individuals

The article at ScienceDaily describes an "evolution-proof" insecticide, targeting malaria. The idea works in this case because it is the older mosquitos that transmit malaria, AND they have already reproduced. Therefore, any insecticide that kills them does not apply selective pressure and the spread of resistance is significantly slowed, or even stopped.

Link to the actual paper at PLoS Biology

I particularly like this quote:
Consequently, there is now a concerted effort to identify new insecticidal compounds for use in malaria control [36,39]. On the face of it, this is desirable, but novel chemistry does not, in itself, provide a sustainable answer. All existing insecticides were “new” at some point, and there is the very real danger that, as with the antimalarial drug treadmill [40], the search for products can become open ended as the efficacy of successful new compounds is, in turn, eroded by the evolution of resistance.
If you're stuck in an evolutionary arms race, the best way to win is to get out of the race with a revolutionary strategy.

The article mentions several other diseases that might benefit from this approach:
... it may be applicable to others with extrinsic incubation periods that approach the life spans of their vectors. Such diseases may include dengue, filariasis, West Nile virus, Japanese encephalitis, onchocercaisis, and Chagas disease.

No comments: