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Archive for December 12th, 2008

Dec 12 2008

Could a fungus help control malaria?

Posted by: Paul Chinnock - Editorial Team

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Tanzania’s Ifakara Health Institute is investigating the potential of two fungi to control malarial mosquitoes, according to the Institute’s Acting Director Dr Salim Abdulla, interviewed by the country’s Daily News.

Dr Abdulla says that there have already been some encouraging preliminary findings and that over the next two years trials will take place at household level, village level and then on a larger scale. He commented that, “If it will become a success, it could become one of the easiest, safe and effective interventions of controlling malaria infections in the country”.

Dr Abdulla named the species of fungi it is investigating as Beauveria bassiana and Metarhizium anisopliae. This is not the first time that the use of these fungi as biological insecticides has been proposed.

The article (which can be accessed here) also discusses some of the Institute’s other activities, including its work against schistosomiasis and sexually transmitted infections.

Dec 12 2008

Australia must show commitment to eliminate trachoma

Posted by: Paul Chinnock - Editorial Team

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An article on Austalia’s InTouchRadio website describes an interview with Hugh Taylor Professor of Indigenous Eye Health at the University of Melbourne. Professor Taylor points out that Australia is the only developed nation still affected by trachoma. Globally, the disease is one of the most important causes of blindness.

The disease disappeared from Australia’s ‘mainstream communitites’ 100 years ago but is still often seen amongst indigenous Australians. Professor Taylor says there is a lack of commitment from the government to eliminate the disease. He says: ‘It tends to get lost in the mix, but I think the reason why it’s important first of all is, it’s a very important cause of blindness and disability, but also it’s something we can actually control.’ He calls for wider use of WHO’s ‘SAFE‘ strategy for trachoma elimination.

It is ironic that the disease is still a problem in Australia as it was the home of one of the most distinguished of ophthalmologists working against blindness worldwide,
Fred Hollows.

The article may be read here.