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Scientists go door to door to bring the pests in, PCR test tells them which ones are dangerous
OVER the last few years, people from some villages of Orissa got used to a team of researchers knocking on their doors at five in the morning. The team was on a mission to collect mosquitoes to study the insects' role in the transmission of malaria in the area.
The team would enter houses and use sucking tubes to collect mosquitoes. Mosquitoes outside the houses were collected in the evening using light traps which produce ultraviolet light to attract mosquitoes. Orissa's Boudh, Gajapati, Phulbani, Cuttak and Keonjhar were the districts roped in for the project as they are endemic to malaria. Three Anopheles mosquito species are dominant here A annularis, A philippinensis and A pallidus.
In one such field work, the team from the Regional Medical Research Centre (rmrc) and the Institute of Life Sciences in Bhubaneswar, collected 186 mosquitoes. In the lab, the researchers used a newly-developed technique called the multiplex polymerase chain reaction (pcr) to identify the mosquitoes and assess the threat they could pose.
|Step 1 Sucking tubes were used to collect mosquitoes. One end of the tube was placed over the mosquito on the wall while it was sucked in through the other end|
Step 2 The collected mosquitoes were dissected
Step 3 Different parts of a dissected mosquito were collected
a - the saliva for the Plasmodium parasite
b - the stomach for human blood
c - the mosquito's own DNA sample
|Step 4 The samples were analyzed by the multiplex PCR device. The results confirmed if the mosquito had fed on a human and if it carried the disease|
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