Dr Manyi, a senior lecturer at the University of Agriculture, Makurdi, is the man behind a fascinating mosquito farm in Nigeria. From his scientific findings, he discovered that though mosquitoes are long age disease-transmitting insects, they can also be curing agents for some diseases.
In Africa, mosquitoes cause malaria from their bite. Since this is blood-related, it is a surprise that mosquitoes do not transfer human immunodeficiency virus and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) from one infected person to another.
Though some countries have engineered male mosquitoes to combat diseases such as Zika Virus, which females transmit, this is a first in Nigeria. While in its inception, the idea is considered by fellow scientists as one of the viable ways to fight the long-managed HIV/AIDS in Nigeria and the world.
The plausible curing enzymes in mosquitoes
To unravel the mystery, the Nigerian scientist Dr Manyi opened a mosquito farm in Benue state. From his numerous findings from other scientists, he believes that since mosquitoes cannot transmit HIV/AIDS once ingested, there is an enzyme that neutralises or makes it impossible for them to transfer it.
Dr Manyi aims to study and discover the enzyme that kills the HIV/AIDS virus once ingested by the insect or stops them from transmitting from one person to another. He believes this is the missing piece to unfolding and curing the age-long disease. The finding will therefore revolutionalise and benefit the country and the world.
Mosquitoes in Africa
The anopheline mosquitoes transmit malaria parasites to humans. After ingesting from a host, the blood mixes with the parasite in mosquitoes. This goes through a compulsory fourteen days sexual stage in the mosquito’s midgut before it is transmitted to humans as malaria.
In Africa, there are about 140 identified species of Anopheles mosquitoes. Four out of the 140 species are vectors of malaria parasites and can be found on the continent. Since man and the disease-carrying insect have co-existed from the beginning of time, especially in Africa, preventive measures such as drugs and insecticides have been developed. However, over time, these four species have built resistance to insecticides.
Dr, Manyi believes that exploring ways to control the different species might be the new revolutionary discovery Nigeria and the world need. He further buttresses this in an interview with Lucky Udu, a video creator, he said, “I believe the enzymes in mosquito have something to do with the cure for HIV/AIDS. This lab is interested in finding out what makes mosquitoes not to be a viable means for HIV transmission. We want to know what makes the virus die so that it is not transmitted to the next person.”