An age-structured model to evaluate the potential of novel malaria-control interventions: a case study of fungal biopesticide sprays.
Hancock PA., Thomas MB., Godfray HC.
It has recently been proposed that mosquito vectors of human diseases, particularly malaria, may be controlled by spraying with fungal biopesticides that increase the rate of adult mortality. Though fungal pathogens do not cause instantaneous mortality, they can kill mosquitoes before they are old enough to transmit disease. A model is developed (i) to explore the potential for fungal entomopathogens to reduce significantly infectious mosquito populations, (ii) to assess the relative value of the many different fungal strains that might be used, and (iii) to help guide the tactical design of vector-control programmes. The model follows the dynamics of different classes of adult mosquitoes with the risk of mortality due to the fungus being assumed to be a function of time since infection (modelled using the Weibull distribution). It is shown that substantial reductions in mosquito numbers are feasible for realistic assumptions about mosquito, fungus and malaria biology and moderate to low daily fungal infection probability. The choice of optimal fungal strain and spraying regime is shown to depend on local mosquito and malaria biology. Fungal pathogens may also influence the ability of mosquitoes to transmit malaria and such effects are shown to further reduce vectorial capacity.