New Method to Control Disease-Carrying Insects

Purdue researchers are discovering the next generation of insecticides directed at disease-carrying insects like mosquitoes, ticks and tsetse flies, which could help professionals in the human health and veterinary sectors.
Catherine A. Hill, associate professor of entomology in the College of Agriculture, and Val J. Watts, professor of medicinal chemistry and molecular pharmacology in the College of Pharmacy, say vector insects – which carry and transmit infectious pathogens or parasites to other living organisms – are developing resistance to insecticides sprayed in the air or embedded in bed nets.
Hill’s background in vector insect biology and Watts’ specialization in molecular pharmacology led them to create an approach that focuses on specific insect genomes, or hereditary information encoded in insect DNA.
Insecticides created through this method may be safer for humans and non-targeted organisms like companion pets and non-vector insects like honey bees. They also may have less impact on the environment.
“Amitriptyline has been prescribed for more than 50 years, and we know human physiology handles it very well: physicians, pharmacists and nurses interact with it without personal protective equipment,” Watts said. “But it kills larvae of the mosquito that spreads yellow fever and dengue fever in the tropical and subtropical regions of the world. There may be other FDA-approved drugs we didn’t realize can also be insecticides.”
The next steps to develop the genome-centric method are to explore other drugs through an in vivo assay to discover insecticidal or larvicidal properties and identify novel chemicals that affect the targeted receptor of disease-carrying insects. Hill and Watts also are looking to develop private-public partnerships to determine the most effective methods to deliver these insecticides.
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/46193429/ns/business-press_releases/t/purdue-researchers-look-develop-new-method-control-disease-carrying-insects/
 

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