August 13, 2017

Research Roundup: Mosquito traps and the impact of antibiotics

Program Assistant
CDC/ James Gathany

In this regular feature on Breakthroughs, we highlight some of the most interesting reads in global health research from the past week.

A new tool developed by the University of Greenwich uses hot water and human scent to lure and trap mosquitoes. The tool is a simple black bucket attached to a wind tunnel that blows warm air with a human scent. The mosquitoes, initially attracted to the scent, are lured to the bucket, and then use the thermal indicators of the warm water to land. The bucket itself is covered in a sticky plastic that traps the mosquitoes. This tool is inexpensive, easy to build, and has proven to be effective in trapping large amounts of the insect. The developers are testing the prototype in three African nations and believe the tool could be a breakthrough in reducing mosquito-borne diseases.

Antibiotic resistant MRSA bacteria. (Photo:National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID))

Pew Charitable Trusts has announced it will create a new cloud-based digital platform to allow researchers to share data and collaborate to discover new antibiotics to tackle antimicrobial resistance (AMR). As AMR levels continue to rise across the globe, scientists are moving quickly to discover new antibiotics that can treat resistant strains of viruses and bacteria. The platform will host a “virtual laboratory” for scientists to collaborate and crowdsource information to break through common obstacles and limitations associated with discovering new antibiotics. The system is expected to launch within a year.

Antibiotic use in Chinese factory farms is expected to double by 2030, causing concern in the science community. Because more than half of the antibiotics used globally are used in China, scientists are worried that increased use in the poultry industry could accelerate the growth of antimicrobial resistance. Researchers are also concerned the industry practices have made avian flu an increasing global threat. The global livestock industry has been under scrutiny for years following a major dirty meat scandal involving major fast food chains, highlighting continued issues with the worldwide impact of food supply chains. Scientists urge changes to make livestock healthier, reduce greenhouse gases, and track the global movement of meat.