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Mosquitoes cannot transmit corona among human beings: Study

Even in the remotest chance that the pathogen is present in a patient's blood, mosquito cannot transmit the infection to others as corona does not replicate in the insect's gut like in the case of malaria. The Kansas researchers found that mosquito would not be a vector for coronavirus.

NEW DELHI, July 20: Mosquitoes transmit dengue, malaria and other diseases among human beings. But, like in the case of HIV, it does not transmit coronavirus. A research paper published in the journal, Scientific Reports, has provided "experimental evidence."

"While the World Health Organization (WHO) has definitively stated that mosquitoes cannot transmit the virus, our study is the first to provide conclusive data supporting the theory," said Stephen Higgs, a co-author of the research from Kansas State University in the US.

The question is will mosquitoes spread the virus by feeding on the blood of infected individuals and passing on the virus to others through bites. Infectious diseases experts say, in the first place, the covid virus is not so much present in the blood of infected persons.

Yet the Kansas researchers went ahead with the study to find out the capacity of mosquitoes in the trasmission of the viral disease. They directly injected three prominent and widely distributed species of mosquitoes - Aedes Aegypti, Aedes Albopictus and Culex Quinquefasciatus - with coronavirus, to find if the virus can replicate in the insect's guts.

"No virus was detected in the 277 inoculated mosquitoes collected and titrated at time points beyond 24 hours, suggesting a rapid loss of infectivity and the lack of replication after injection," the researchers found. "Even if a mosquito fed on a person with virus in the blood, the mosquito would not be a vector."

Last month, a study by Italy's national health institute (ISS) also showed that mosquitoes are unable to transmit coronavirus among humans. "The research showed that the virus, once given to the mosquito through a meal of infected blood, was not able to replicate," ISS said, and ruled out transmission of SARS-CoV-2 through mosquito bites.

In the case of HIV, it needs the human T cell to replicate. When a mosquito feeds on an infected person, the HIV enters the insect's gut, and does not replicate because it needs human T cells. The virus has no host cell to replicate and is broken down by the mosquito's digestive system.

On the other hand, malarial parasite can multiply in the mosquito's gut.The sporozoites then migrate to the insect's salivary glands. When mosquitoes bite they inject their saliva, and the parasite is passed on.

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