A novel approach for controlling insect vectors of human disease (2013–2015)
Insects transmit a wide variety of human diseases including malaria, dengue, and Chagas disease. Mosquito-borne diseases alone cause >1 million deaths each year. The evolution of insecticide resistance in key disease vectors as well as enhanced environmental standards that make it more difficult to register new insecticides has greatly reduced the options available for vector control. We plan to develop an eco-friendly approach for controlling insect vectors by coupling natural insecticidal peptides derived from spider venom with a natural delivery vector (entomopathogenic fungi). The utility of this new approach will be tested on mosquitoes and triatomine bugs, the two most important insect disease vectors in terms of human mortality.