Malaria vector control approaches that rely on mosquito releases such as the sterile insect technique (SIT) and suppression or replacement strategies relying on genetically modified mosquitoes (GMM) depend on effective mass production of Anopheles mosquitoes. Anophelines typically require relatively clean larval rearing water, and water management techniques that minimise toxic ammonia are key to achieving optimal rearing conditions in small and large rearing facilities. Zeolites are extensively used in closed-system fish aquaculture to improve water quality and reduce water consumption, thanks to their selective adsorption of ammonia and toxic heavy metals. The many advantages of zeolites include low cost, abundance in many parts of the world and environmental friendliness. However, so far, their potential benefit for mosquito rearing has not been evaluated.
An assessment of the Sterile Insect Technique (SIT) as a complementary malaria vector control tool, is at an advanced stage in South Africa. The technique involves the release of laboratory-reared sterilized male mosquitoes of the major malaria vector Anopheles arabiensis, raising social, ethical and regulatory concerns. Therefore, its implementation largely depends on community participation and acceptance. Against this background, it is critical that robust and effective community strategies are developed. This study describes the development of a cultural song to engage the community and increase awareness on SIT and malaria control in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.
Anopheles arabiensis is a major malaria vector, recently implicated as contributing to ongoing residual malaria transmission in South Africa, which feeds and rests both indoors and outdoors. This species is, therefore, not effectively targeted using core malaria vector control interventions alone. Additionally, increasing resistance to available insecticides necessitates investigations into complementary non-insecticide-based vector control methods for outdoor-resting mosquitoes. The feasibility of the sterile insect technique (SIT) as a complementary vector control intervention is being investigated in South Africa. Successful implementation of an SIT programme largely depends on inundating a target insect population with sterilized laboratory-bred males. Therefore, knowledge of the native population size and dispersal ability of released sterile laboratory-reared males is critical. In this study, we estimated the male An. arabiensis population size and the dispersal of released males in an area targeted for a pilot sterile male release programme.
Successful implementation of the sterile insect technique (SIT) against Aedes albopictus and Anopheles arabiensis relies on a continuous supply of sterile males. To meet this requirement, optimization of the mass-rearing techniques is needed. This study, therefore, aims to assess a new mass-rearing cage (MRC) in terms of egg production efficiency and egg hatch rate (quality).
A paper that appeared in Scientific Reports by Evans et al. (1)asked whether changes in the genotypes of target mosquito populations would occur due to introgression of released transgenic mosquito genomes. The paper in fact describes the introgression of released mosquito strain genome into wild populations of Aedes aegypti after releases of the OX513A strain developed by Oxitec and the paper has generated a lot of controversy. Is this a surprising finding or an entirely predictable outcome? Is it cause for alarm?