Can Wolbachia be used to control malaria?

Thomas Walker, Luciano Moreira

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)


Malaria is a mosquito-borne infectious disease caused by Plasmodium parasites transmitted by the infectious bite of Anopheles mosquitoes. Vector control of malaria has predominantly focused on targeting the adult mosquito through insecticides and bed nets. However, current vector control methods are often not sustainable for long periods so alternative methods are needed. A novel biocontrol approach for mosquito-borne diseases has recently been proposed, it uses maternally inherited endosymbiotic Wolbachia bacteria transinfected into mosquitoes in order to interfere with pathogen transmission. Transinfected Wolbachia strains in Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, the primary vector of dengue fever, directly inhibit pathogen replication, including Plasmodium gallinaceum, and also affect mosquito reproduction to allow Wolbachia to spread through mosquito populations. In addition, transient Wolbachia infections in Anopheles gambiae significantly reduce Plasmodium levels. Here we review the prospects of using a Wolbachia-based approach to reduce human malaria transmission through transinfection of Anopheles mosquitoes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)212 - 217
Number of pages6
JournalMemorias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes

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