Western Rajasthan in India has a typical desert climate. Until the introduction of the canal water irrigation system, malaria was an unstable and seasonal occurrence. Due to the scarcity of water, the community practised having one large underground tank (locally known as the tanka) in their house to collect rainwater for long-term household use. Anopheles stephensi, one of the major malaria vectors, breeds in improperly covered "tankas” if not properly covered and harbours a vector population throughout the year.
Plasmodium falciparum (Pf) sporozoites (PfSPZ) can be administered as a highly protective vaccine conferring the highest protection seen to date. Sanaria® PfSPZ vaccines are produced using aseptically reared Anopheles stephensi mosquitoes. The bionomics of sporogonic development of P. falciparum in A. stephensi to fully mature salivary gland PfSPZ is thought to be modulated by several components of the mosquito innate immune system. In order to increase salivary gland PfSPZ infections in A. stephensi and thereby increase vaccine production efficiency, a gene knock down approach was used to investigate the activity of the immune deficiency (IMD) signaling pathway downstream effector leucine-rich repeat immune molecule 1 (LRIM1), an antagonist to Plasmodium development.
The study was an attempt to capture Anopheles stephensi from cattle sheds during dawn to understand the realistic density of the resting mosquitoes. A 2-year longitudinal study was carried out in cattle sheds in close proximity to the human dwellings to collect the resting vector mosquitoes. The man-hour density of A. stephensi ranged from 24.7 to 206.5.
Anopheles stephensi, an invasive malaria vector, was first detected in Africa nearly 10 years ago. After the initial finding in Djibouti, it has subsequently been found in Ethiopia, Sudan and Somalia. To better inform policies and vector control decisions, it is important to understand the distribution, bionomics, insecticide susceptibility, and transmission potential of An. stephensi. These aspects were studied as part of routine entomological monitoring in Ethiopia between 2018 and 2020.
Second Internal Transcribed Spacer (ITS2) ribosomal DNA (rDNA) sequence is a widely used molecular marker for species-identification or -delimitation due to observed concerted evolution which is believed to homogenize rDNA copies in an interbreeding population. However, intra-specific differences in ITS2 of Anopheles stephensi have been reported.
Efforts to study the biology of Plasmodium vivax liver stages, particularly the latent hypnozoites, have been hampered by the limited availability of P. vivax sporozoites. Anopheles stephensi is a major urban malaria vector in Goa and elsewhere in South Asia. Using P. vivax patient blood samples, a series of standard membrane-feeding experiments were performed with An. stephensi under the US NIH International Center of Excellence for Malaria Research (ICEMR) for Malaria Evolution in South Asia (MESA). The goal was to understand the dynamics of parasite development in mosquitoes as well as the production of P. vivax sporozoites. To obtain a robust supply of P. vivax sporozoites, mosquito-rearing and mosquito membrane-feeding techniques were optimized, which are described here.
Anopheles stephensi originated in Southeast Asia and the Arabian Peninsula. It has recently emerged as an efficient and invasive urban malaria vector. There are three known forms, 'type', 'intermediate', and 'mysorensis', of which the type and intermediate forms are efficient vectors in both rural and urban environments.
In the malaria-causing parasite's life cycle, Plasmodium sporozoites must travel from the midgut of a mosquito to the salivary glands before they can infect a mammalian host. However, only a fraction of sporozoites complete the journey. Since salivary gland invasion is required for transmission of sporozoites, insights at the molecular level can contribute to strategies for malaria prevention.
Anopheles stephensi with three different biotypes is a major vector of malaria in Asia. It breeds in a wide range of habitats. Therefore, safer and more sustainable methods are needed to control its immature stages rather than chemical pesticides. The larvicidal and antibacterial properties of the Pelargonium roseum essential oil (PREO) formulations were investigated against mysorensis and intermediate forms of An. stephensi in laboratory conditions. A series of nanoemulsions containing different amounts of PREO, equivalent to the calculated LC50 values for each An. stephensi form, and various quantities of surfactants and co-surfactants were developed. The physical and morphological properties of the most lethal formulations were also determined. PREO and its major components, i.e. citronellol (21.34%), L-menthone (6.41%), linalool (4.214%), and geraniol (2.19%), showed potent larvicidal activity against the studied mosquitoes.
Anopheles stephensi mosquitoes, efficient vectors in parts of Asia and Africa, were found in 75.3% of water sources surveyed and contributed to 80.9% of wild-caught Anopheles mosquitoes in Awash Sebat Kilo, Ethiopia.