Via ABC Radio Australia: Researchers hope fungus can help dengue fight. Excerpt:
Queensland researchers are hoping a fungus that presents no danger to people could help stop the spread of dengue fever.
Dengue fever kills up to 20,000 people a year – many of them in Asia and the Pacific - and millions more suffer from the mosquito-borne virus.
Dr Jonathan Darbro from the Queensland Institute of Medical Research has found that a common fungus kills the dengue mosquito.
The fungus was first identified 120 years ago and has been used to control agricultural pests.
But he has discovered it is particularly effective against the Aedes Aegypti mosquito which spreads dengue.
"The fungus on the inside of the body produces spores and the spores burst out of the exoskeleton, and that’s what you see...these white, kind of fuzzy, ball like structures."
It does not kill immediately, but Dr Darbro says it takes about fourteen days for the female mosquito to pass on the dengue virus after biting somebody suffering from the fever.
"That’s pretty old for mosquitoes," he said.
"So if you can just shorten the lifespan of mosquitoes that would be as good, they would not be able to transmit viruses.
"So from a sense of stopping the disease transmission that’s as good as killing them."