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Botoxcusin can reduce malaria in an environmentally friendly way

Researchers from Stockholm and Lund University, along with researchers from the University of California, have found a new toxin that is selective targeting malaria. Discovery can lead to new and environmentally friendly ways to fight malaria. The research was presented in the Nature Communications magazine.

Botox (botulinum neurotoxins) and tetanus-causing poison belong to the same family and are among the most endemic substances discovered so far. Earlier it was considered to be only toxic to the vertebrate as humans, mice and birds. But now researchers have found a poison that attacks malaria.

– We've detected the venom of the nerve, the PMP1, which is selective targeting malaria. Accordingly, this toxin family has a much wider spectrum of hosts than previously thought, says Pål Stenmark, the University of Stockholm and the University of Lund. He ran a research group in Stockholm and the University of Lund, who in conjunction with the Sarjeet Gill research group at the University of California discovered a new venom of nerve.

– PMP1 allows to reduce the prevalence of malaria in a new and environmentally friendly way. Since these toxins are proteins, they do not leave any unnatural remnants as they break down. Perhaps now we can design biological insecticides directed against selected pests, says Pål Stenmark.

Today, insecticides and insecticide networks are the main means of fighting malaria spread, but new methods of anti-malarial mosquito fighting must constantly evolve as mosquitoes become resistant to all toxins over time.

– We found PMP1 in bacteria from two endangered environments: mangrove swamp in Malaysia and the Brazilian rainforest. This shows how important it is to protect gold mines from biodiversity, says Pål Stenmark.

Article "Neurotoxin that specifically targets anopheles mosquitoes, "was published in the journal Nature Communications.

For more information, please contact

Pål Stenmark, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, University of Stockholm, and Department of Experimental Medical Science, University of Lund. Tel: 073-984 12 16, e-mail:


Malaria is one of the most common and most severe diseases in the world and is caused by monocular parasites that spread with some mosquitoes. Every year about half a million people die of this disease, most of them children in Africa. 200 million people have malaria.
Source: World Health Organization (WHO)

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