Scientists Discover African Tree That Kills Malaria-Carrying Mosquitoes

Malaria is currently one of the world’s most serious infectious diseases and more than 200 million people are affected by it each year. Malaria has been an international epidemic for years. According to a Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine study published in Nature, since 2000, efforts to fight the disease across Africa have actually cut the rate of infections in half.

A new study reports that an unlikely item might actually contribute to the fight against the disease.

Lawyer Herald reports that an African tree is actually killing mosquitoes that are carrying the infectious disease. These mosquitoes would otherwise continue to infect people as they bite them, but the South African tree is cutting their lives short.

The Olon tree possesses a number of lethal substances that are actually very helpful to mankind, because of their ability to kill mosquitoes that carry malaria.

The University of Oslo released a study showing the effects of these African trees on mosquitoes that are transmitting malaria. The report was published in Science Daily, and shows that not only can the tree kill off the mosquito carrying the disease, but it can actually rid the mosquito of the disease itself, which is an encouraging find for both the scientific and medical communities.

“This caused the mosquitoes to die, literally as flies,” said Helle Wangensteen, Associate Professor and project leader. “The experiments showed that pellitorine is toxic to mosquitoes.”

The project began in 2011 in the Republic of Congo’s capital Brazzaville because the Olon tree has a strong presence there, as well as malaria-carrying mosquitoes.

“The primary function of many natural products found in plants is not known to science, but it’s obvious that the plants use a lot of energy to produce these compounds. Therefore, it is hardly a coincidence that they are produced,” Wangensteen added.

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