In a new study, Vanderbilt pharmacologist Jerod Denton, Ph.D., Ohio State entomologist Peter Piermarini, Ph.D., and colleagues report an experimental molecule that inhibits kidney function in mosquitoes. What is interesting is that the molecule only affects the kidney function in mosquitoes, and not in other insects. The researchers used the mosquito Anopheles gambiae , which is the leading vector for both malaria and the Zika virus.
Over the past few decades, mosquitoes have evolved genetic resistances to different types of pesticides, making them harder to eliminate. Most of these pesticides target the nervous system, so Jerod Denton, Ph.D decided to try a different approach which target the kidneys. Essentially, the researchers are preventing mosquitoes from producing urine after they take a blood meal. The waste backs up and has no where to go, killing the mosquito. In order to do this, they have the inhibitor known as inhibitor VU041. VU041 to be effective when applied topically, which indicates that it potentially could be adapted as a sprayed insecticide.
The most important part of VU041 is that it is not detrimental to important species in the environment, such as honeybees.