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Marseille soap an unexpected ally against malaria?

Marseille soap an unexpected ally against malaria?

619 thousand. This is the number of deaths caused by malaria in 2021, according to the World Health Organization. If the number of recorded cases (247 million in the same year) is decreasing thanks to insecticides, it is better not to relax efforts, because the mosquitoes, which transmit this deadly disease, have begun to develop resistance to these products. To combat this, scientists from the University of Texas at El Paso (USA) came up with the idea of ​​adding a product found at home to mosquito repellents: soap!

According to the researchers, neonicotinoids, a class of insecticides banned in France since January 2023 due to their disastrous effects on biodiversity, would constitute a “promising alternative” against resistant mosquitoes. Provided that the substance increases its effectiveness. This is where soap comes in, most notably Maître Savon de Marseille soap, Caroline black soap and La Perdrix soap, three affordable brands that are widespread on the African continent, where 95% of malaria cases were recorded in 2021.

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Increase mosquito mortality rate from 30 to 100%

These products contain linseed oil, a compound that increases mosquito mortality when combined with an insecticide. As part of their study, the scientific team added these soaps to four different neonicotinoids: acetamiprid, clothianidin, imidacloprid, and thiamethoxam. For her, the results are clear.

“The three brands of soap increase the mortality rate by 30 to 100 percent compared to insecticides used alone,” explained Asho Farid, lead author of the study and a doctoral student at the University of Yaoundé in Cameroon. On the other hand, when added to pyrethroids, another type of insecticide, the soap did not increase its effectiveness. From now on, it will be necessary to determine the ideal amount of soap to use as insecticides so that we can develop effective and accessible formulations with less risk to humans. Mosquitoes are getting ready (literally) to take a beating!

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