Super-doses of a drug that is normally used used to treat scabies could turn the human blood into poison for mosquitoes. The insects that fed on the blood with high concentrations of the drug died immediately. The effect lasts for a month, doctors claim.
Researchers plan to improve the drug to help curb the rates of malaria and other diseases that are carried by mosquitoes.
The study involved 139 participants from Kenya, an African state with alarmingly high rates of malaria every year. Participants, who had all been diagnosed with malaria before the study, received either a dose of 600mcg/kg or 300 mg/kg of the mosquito-killing drug or a placebo.
The study shows that both groups who got the drug were fatal for mosquitoes for 28 days after the administration. Also, 97 percent of the insects that fed on participants’ blood died within 14 days.
Researchers kept the mosquitos in cages and artificially fed them with blood samples offered by the volunteers. Lead author Dr Menno Smit expressed confidence about the study results.
High Doses of the Drug Have Side-Effects
Dr Menno noted that even one month after the drug was administered, the blood of some patients was still poison for mosquitoes. However, there are some drawbacks. Even though the 600mcg/kg dose killed the most mosquitoes, the higher dose had severe side-effects.
- Eleven percent of participants in the 600mcg/kg group reported side-effects.
- The usual dose for treating scabies is 150mcg/kg. Only 4% of participants in the 300 mg/kg group reported side-effects.
Study authors hope the new approach could offer a powerful tool against malaria. The experimental drug was given alongside a drug to treat malaria with no adverse effects. The anti-scabies drug aka ivermectin has been long touted as a “wonder drug” since it can treat elephantiasis and river blindness.
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