Since the beginning of our century, the incidence of malaria has declined significantly. Resulting from large scale distribution of pesticide products. But carrier mosquitoes are starting to show signs of resistance. Therefore, scientists are looking for new solutions. And one team today is proposing something that is surprising to say the least: mixing soap with pesticides.

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Malaria is a disease spread by mosquito bites. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that it affected more than 240 million people in 2020 and killed more than 600,000 of them. It turns out that, although incidence has declined during our century, mosquito vectors have shown increasing resistance to insecticides for almost two decades. Therefore researchers are working on developing alternative compounds possibly with new modes of action.

Soap to increase the effectiveness of pesticides

Biologists from the University of Texas at El Paso (United States) have made an interesting and surprising discovery in this area. They came across a product that increases the effectiveness of pesticides. A product that can be found in supermarkets and that we all have at home. Soap !

The researchers are the first to explain that neonicotinoid-type insecticides are a promising alternative to older pesticides. But they only kill certain species of mosquitoes that spread malaria if they are reinforced. in the magazine PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, biologists say they observed, somewhat by accident, that adding a seed oil-based product to these pesticides increased mosquito mortality. They then tested the effect of adding three linseed oil-based soaps – which are widespread and inexpensive in countries most affected by malaria – to four neonicotinoids (acetamiprid, clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam). Their effectiveness has been increased from 30 to 100%.

A new weapon against malaria

The researchers note that adding soap to pyrethroid-type insecticides, on the other hand, has no significant effect. They emphasize that they will need further testing to determine the optimal amount of soap. The next thing that probably remains is to find a formulation that can stick to mosquito nets as well. “A promising and exciting challenge”That’s the conclusion of biologists from the University of Texas.

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