Malaria is a global scourge. Over three billion people are at risk of infection by malaria parasites which cause an estimated one to two million deaths annually. For many in sub-Saharan Africa especially children insecticide treated nets (ITNs) provide the only means of defense against Anopheles gambiae the mosquito vector of the parasites. Carbamate insecticides work by inhibiting acetylcholinesterase (AChE) and are commonly used to control agricultural pests. However human toxicity (resulting from concurrent potent inhibition of human AChE) has thus far discouraged deployment of insecticidal carbamates on ITNs and pyrethroid insecticides have filled this gap. To improve current ITN strategies we identified contact-toxic carbamates offering >100-fold selectivity for inhibition of the acetylcholinesterase of Anopheles gambiae relative to human. Such highly selective carbamates are ideally suited for use on insecticide-treated nets.
Contact-toxic carbamates offering >100-fold selectivity for inhibition of the acetylcholinesterase of Anopheles gambiae relative to human.