It’s at once the best and oddest news to come out of Africa this week but research from Ethiopia appears to suggest that the scent of a live chicken could be a new weapon in the fight against malaria. The research conducted by Ethiopian and Swedish scientists has proven that malaria-spreading mosquitoes don’t like to be anywhere near chicken and other birds. The research findings are great news for a continent where malaria is still a leading cause of death. Yes, it is no longer weird to keep live chicken inside your house now. It might just save your life
According to the respected journal, research conducted in Ethiopia apparently shows that live chicken repel Anopheles arabiensis, a malaria-spreading mosquito common in Sub-Saharan Africa. The researchers found that “n. arabiensis avoids chickens despite their relatively high abundance, indicating that chickens are a non-host species for this vector”
Part of the research conducted by Ethiopian and Swedish scientists involved using a volunteer test subject and a caged chicken next to him. The researchers found that a “significant reduction in trap catch was also observed when suspending a caged chicken next to the trap.”
The scientists concluded that since the mosquitoes “select and discriminate among hosts primarily using olfaction [or smell]” the scent of chicken could be used as a new weapon in the fight against Malaria which yearly kills hundreds of thousands in Africa. This is especially good news since last year the World Health Organisation published search that showed that mosquitoes are developing resistance to insecticides and to antimalarial medicines.
The BBC has quoted Habtie Tekie, a scientist from the Addis Ababa University who participated in the research together with colleagues from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, saying that work is now on to see how to extract the compounds from the smell of chicken to design something than can be used as a mosquito repellant.
This is especially good news since last year the World Health Organisationpublished search that showed that mosquitoes are developing resistance to insecticides and to antimalarial medicines
Social media reactions to the new findings are streaming in. Many are happy with the news. Some, meanwhile, have seized the opportunity to make tongue-in-cheek jokes as well as give tips to uber-rich philanthropist Bill Gates.