In a promising stride against one of the world’s most deadly diseases, scientists have accidentally discovered a naturally occurring bacterium, TC1, that could impede the transmission of malaria from mosquitoes to humans, according to BBC.

The groundbreaking finding came to light at a research facility in Spain, supervised by pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). The researchers stumbled upon the phenomenon while conducting experiments on mosquitoes related to drug development.

The team noticed an unexpected result: a group of mosquitoes remained free from malaria parasites. Further analysis led to the identification of a bacteria strain, TC1, existing in the natural environment, which seemed to halt the growth of malaria parasites inside the mosquito’s gut.

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The bacterium proved to be resilient, persisting throughout the mosquito’s lifespan and notably reducing its parasite load by up to 73%.
This unexpected helper produces a molecule known as Harmane, which hinders the early development stages of the malaria parasite within the mosquito.

Malaria continues to devastate populations globally, claiming around 620,000 lives each year, primarily among children under the age of five. While vaccines are in progress, their implementation in Africa remains in the nascent stages.