Who wouldn’t want to turn the tables on mosquitoes? Ok, imagine this: An annoying mosquito perches on you while you’re fast asleep, sips some of your blood, and then hours later drops dead, poisoned by the very blood it just sucked from you.
This may sound too good to be true, but it’s an exciting possibility, according to a scientific research published this week in the journal The Lancet Infectious Diseases.
The new study, conducted in Kenya by the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, revealed that the blood of patients who took three high doses of ivermectin (a pill used to fight parasites) in pill form over three days remained poisonous to mosquitoes for up to 28 days.
The study found that patients suffered few side effects from the medication, though all were already suffering from malaria.
“The most exciting result was the fact that even one month after (the subjects took) Ivermectin, their blood was still killing mosquitoes,” said Dr. Menno Smit of the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. “That’s much longer than we thought.”
Researchers took blood samples from 47 participants in the study and fed them to caged mosquitoes, reported NPR.
“We put the blood in an artificial membrane that mosquitoes could bite on and then watched,” Smit said. Most died within a week, and within two weeks 97 percent were dead, the study found.
If larger studies and further tests on children are successful, the researchers may certify Ivermectin okay to combat the spread of malaria by reducing the mosquito population.