There is a new ray of hope in the fight against Africa's most endemic killer, Malaria, as a new research discovers a pill that can make human blood poisonous to mosquitoes and even kill the blood-sucking insect.
The new discovery by a group of scientists indicates that the disease-carrying mosquitoes die after feeding on the blood of humans given super-strength doses of Ivermectin.
Ivermectin belongs to a class of drugs known as antihelmintics. It works by paralyzing and killing parasites.
When injected with super doses of the drug, your blood will not just repel but also becomes poisonous to mosquitoes for up to a month, the research suggests.
A team of British-led researchers split 139 volunteers from Kenya (which reports more than six million new cases of malaria each year) into three groups.
The malaria patients were randomly chosen to be given 600mcg/kg or 300mg/kg of ivermectin for three days or were given a placebo.
The study, published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases, reveals that both doses of ivermectin are poisonous to mosquitoes for up to 28 days.
It also shows 97 per cent of mosquitoes died two weeks after feeding on the blood of patients given the higher dose of ivermectin.
The scientists drawn from the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KMRI) and the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (USCDCP) fed the mosquitoes in cages using blood samples taken from the volunteers.
"The most exciting result is the fact that even one month after the subjects took ivermectin, their blood was still killing mosquitoes," lead researcher at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM), Menno Smit told TechTimes.
The researchers believe that the 300mcg/kg dose offers the best hope due to adverse effect from higher doses.
This new finding could be a relief for Nigeria and Africa which contribute the highest global recorded cases of malaria.
It tends to work as a completely new type of anti-malarial drug that kills mosquitoes, as opposed to existing drugs that target the parasite.
Disease-carrying mosquitos kill more than 750,000 people a year, many of whom are children, global figures show.
According to the 2016 World Health Organisation (WHO) report, malaria killed 429,000 and infected 212 million people in 2015 with Sub-Saharan Africa accounting for 90 per cent of the cases and 92 per cent of the deaths.
It noted that children under five years of age were particularly vulnerable, as an estimated 70 per cent of them died of the disease.