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Mechanisms of insecticide resistance

Watch Nadja Wipf explain the four principal insecticide resistance mechanisms and the challenges of cross-resistance and multiple resistance.

The Anopheles mosquitoes transmit malaria. What are the resistance mechanisms that evolved in these malaria vectors? How do these mechanisms help them avoid being killed by insecticides used in vector control?

Nadja Wipf studied insecticide resistance in Anopheles mosquitoes from Côte d’Ivoire. In this video, she leads you through the different mechanisms that help mosquitoes survive insecticides. These mechanisms include behavioural, cuticular, metabolic and target site resistance. Further challenges are cross-resistance and multiple resistance to insecticides.

Knowing the underlying resistance mechanism is essential for choosing the Insecticide Resistance Management strategy (IRM) that is tailored to control the local mosquito population. Cross-resistance, for instance, means that a mechanism responsible for resistance to one insecticide also allows mosquitoes to resist other insecticides with the same mode of action. Thus, you need to reflect carefully when switching from one insecticide to another.

Nadja explains cross-resistance between insecticides of the two classes pyrethroids and organochlorines. But cross-resistance also happens between other insecticide classes. Here is an additional example: Organophosphate and carbamate insecticides are both acetylcholinesterase inhibitors. ACE–1 mutation is a single point mutation that leads to an amino acid substitution. In malaria vectors, this reduces the binding of acetylcholinesterase inhibitors. It confers a cross-resistance between organophosphate and carbamate insecticides.

After you’ve watched the video, think about what the important questions are when encountering resistance in a field mosquito population. Share your thoughts with your peers in the comment section below.


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The Resistant Mosquito: Staying Ahead of the Game in the Fight against Malaria

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