Vector control: agents of selection on malaria parasites?

Trends Parasitol. 2022 Oct;38(10):890-903. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2022 Aug 16.


Insect vectors are responsible for spreading many infectious diseases, yet interactions between pathogens/parasites and insect vectors remain poorly understood. Filling this knowledge gap matters because vectors are evolving in response to the deployment of vector control tools (VCTs). Yet, whilst the evolutionary responses of vectors to VCTs are being carefully monitored, the knock-on consequences for parasite evolution have been overlooked. By examining how mosquito responses to VCTs impact upon malaria parasite ecology, we derive a framework for predicting parasite responses. Understanding how VCTs affect the selection pressures imposed on parasites could help to mitigate against parasite evolution that leads to unfavourable epidemiological outcomes. Furthermore, anticipating parasite evolution will inform monitoring strategies for VCT programmes as well as uncovering novel VCT strategies.

Keywords: Plasmodium; extrinsic incubation period; life history; mosquito; plasticity; sporogony; transmission.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Culicidae*
  • Host-Parasite Interactions
  • Humans
  • Malaria* / parasitology
  • Mosquito Vectors / parasitology
  • Parasites*
  • Plasmodium* / genetics