Mosquitoes are useful, says Vinit

National, Normal

Then National, Wednesday 12th September, 2012

ALL mosquitoes are annoying but not all carry the killer malaria parasite species plasmodium, a researcher says.
“Knowing which species of plasmodium is present in a mosquito is a vital part of vector control to get rid of malaria,” Rebecca Vinit, an honours student from the University of Papua New Guinea, said.
Vinit is with the Institute of Medical Research in Madang.
As part of her research, she said identifying species of plasmodium present in a mosquito helped her and other researchers to decide where and how to introduce mosquito control programmes for protection against malaria.
“We can test for malaria parasites using microscopes and the polymerase chain reaction and enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) molecular diagnostic methods.
“However, these methods have their limitations when detecting plasmodium in deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA),” she said.
Vinit said the study sought to detect the rate of malaria infection in mosquitoes in entomological laboratories to produce results to control mosquitoes carrying the malaria parasite.
The researches extracted DNA from infected mosquitoes, testing single insects or groups of five to work out whether molecular diagnoses gave more sensitive and specific results. 
They used known uninfected and infected mosquitoes as the control group for their test.
“It is likely the two methods will produce the same results. We expect the PCR method to be accurate and suitable for finding out the malaria infection rate in mosquitoes in PNG,” Vinit said.