School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences Faculty Publications and Presentations

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Metarhizium anisopliae is a naturally occurring fungal pathogen of mosquitoes. Recently, Metarhizium has been engineered to act against malaria by directly killing the disease agent within mosquito vectors and also effectively blocking onward transmission. It has been proposed that efforts should be made to minimize the virulence of the fungal pathogen, in order to slow the development of resistant mosquitoes following an actual deployment.


Two mathematical models were developed and analysed to examine the efficacy of the fungal pathogen. It was found that, in many plausible scenarios, the best effects are achieved with a reduced or minimal pathogen virulence, even if the likelihood of resistance to the fungus is negligible. The results for both models depend on the interplay between two main effects: the ability of the fungus to reduce the mosquito population, and the ability of fungus‐infected mosquitoes to compete for resources with non‐fungus‐infected mosquitoes.


The results indicate that there is no obvious choice of virulence for engineered Metarhizium or similar pathogens, and that all available information regarding the population ecology of the combined mosquito‐fungus system should be carefully considered. The models provide a basic framework for examination of anti‐malarial mosquito pathogens that should be extended and improved as new laboratory and field data become available.


This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( ), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Publication Title

Malaria Journal





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