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New hope in fight against mosquito-borne diseases

 

Narrator:       This is Science Today. For many years, researchers at the University of California, Riverside, have been working on a mosquito's ability to smell out human beings. Understanding this process can help control the spread of the diseases they transmit. Entomologist Anandasankar Ray explains that mosquitoes seek out exhaled carbon dioxide to find humans. So, his lab has identified compounds that can specifically act on the mosquitoes' carbon dioxide detection machinery.

Ray:               There's one class of compounds that can block the carbon dioxide receptor; another class of compounds can mimic the activity of carbon dioxide; and the third class of compounds, which are the most exciting, are odors that can super-activate the mosquito's carbon dioxide sensor.

Narrator:       This work can help pave the way for new generations of insect repellants and lures and targets three of the deadliest species of mosquitoes — those that transmit malaria, dengue and West Nile virus. For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.