Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Insulin can increase mosquitoes’ immunity to West Nile virus.

Insulin can increase mosquitoes’ immunity to West Nile virus.

A major health issue these days are a result of mosquito bites. During the summer and even into the fall, mosquitos are out in a full force and it is very common to get bit by them. Even the use of bug spray does not guarantee you will not get bit.  What is scary about some diseases from mosquitos is that there are not known ways to cure and prevent them.  A lot of research is being conducted to hopefully find ways to suppress these viruses that the mosquitos are transmitting. This discovery would help to protect us humans against these harmful diseases.
A research team from Washington State University have been looking into ways to protect humans from these mosquito transmitted diseases. They focused mainly of stopping the infection at the mosquito level. They first began their research with fruit flies due to them having immune responses that are the most similar to mosquitoes. They discovered that there is an insulin like receptor in insects and when it is activated it inhibits replication of viruses. To see if this was effective in mosquitos or not, they fed them blood that had the specific insulin. Once the insulin was in the mosquito, they found that the receptor was activated and suppressed the virus.
As they conducted more tests, they were able to suppress other known viruses such as dengue and Zika that are transmitted through mosquitos. This experiment showed the first time that there was a connection between insulin and a immune response pathway, JAK/STAT. These results are paving the way for more ways to hopefully prevent mosquito spread diseases. If this method proves to continuously have positive outcomes, it can help reduce the chance of getting these diseases. The reason being that if more insulin receptors are activated in more mosquitos, then there is a smaller chance that the disease will be carried by them. As a result, if less of the disease is carried and you are bit by a mosquito, the chance of you getting the disease decreases. I am curious though how this method will be implemented into the mosquito population. This could be really beneficial for everyone. I honestly worry about getting any of these diseases during the summer when I’m out at night so if this method is used more often then I’ll feel a lot more comfortable.  

Posted by Matt Cayer (10)


  1. I dont think there is a way to reach out to all the mosquito populations but trying to find a way to inject insulin into mosquito nesting places can help although I doubt our ability to reach nearly enough mosquitoes. Helping on the person level would be the best bet.

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  2. I was also thinking similarly that it would be impossible to deliver insulin to an entire population of mosquitos. An interesting discovery, but I am not sure if it is possible to transmit insulin in any way, other than possibly introducing mosquitos that are viable and have a change to their dna that causes higher amounts of insulin production.

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  6. That's really interesting that insulin can help provide an immune system boost for mosquitos. Perhaps an efficient way of spreading insulin in mosquito populations is putting an ointment in mosquito spawning grounds like lakes and ponds so that way the mosquito larvae can absorb it as they mature.

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