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Genetically modified fungus kills 99% of malaria mosquitoes

Scientists have genetically engineered a spider fungus that develops a venom that kills mosquitoes that bite humans.

FILE: A mosquito. Picture: sxc.hu.

JOHANNESBURG - There’s been a dramatic breakthrough in the fight to stop the spread of malaria which kills more than 400,000 people a year, mostly in Africa.

Scientists have genetically engineered a spider fungus that develops a venom that kills mosquitoes that bite humans.

The transgenic fungus produces a naturally occurring pathogen that kills 99% of mosquitos that bite humans.

The tests, undertaken at a giant mosquito sphere built of mosquito netting in Burkina Faso, are not designed to eradicate malaria but rather to kill the mosquitos carrying the disease.

Scientists from the University of Maryland and the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine said the results of the tests are very good and the process developed could save many lives.

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