Researchers from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) develop a bio-fungicide against kissing bug, one of the main transmitters of Chagas disease, a condition affecting an estimate of 8 million people mostly in Latin America.

This condition is a tropical parasitic disease caused by the protozoan Trypanosoma cruzi, spread mostly by insects commonly known as “kissing bugs”, and cause serious cardiac and gastrointestinal complications.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that the number of infected people in Mexico amounts 1.1 million and, since there is no vaccine, vector control is the most useful method of prevention.

Paz María Salazar Schettino, head of the Department of Microbiology and Parasitology of the Faculty of Medicine (FM) of the UNAM said in Mexico the infection occurs mainly through vector (transmitting insect) and secondly by blood transfusion.

Salazar Schettino’s team, together with researchers from the FM Basic Mycology Laboratory led by Concepción Toriello Nájera and the Autonomous University of Morelos, developed a biological fungicide based on a strain of the fungus Metarhizium anisopliae, capable of eliminating 88 to 92 percent of M. pallidipennis (kissing bug), an endemic species of greater abundance and distribution in Mexico.


Source: La Jornada