Purdue Newsroom – Purdue researchers look to develop new method to control disease-carrying insectsPosted: February 20, 2012
Hill’s and Watts’ research teams are revisiting drugs previously approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to look for insecticidal effects. Their paper, “A ‘Genome-to-Lead’ Approach for Insecticide Discovery: Pharmacological Characterization and Screening of Aedes aegypti D1-like Dopamine Receptors,” which appears in the peer-reviewed PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases journal, identifies a commonly used antidepressant as a larvicide.
“Amitriptyline has been prescribed for more than 50 years, and we know human physiology handles it very well: physicians, pharmacists and nurses interact with it without personal protective equipment,” Watts said. “But it kills larvae of the mosquito that spreads yellow fever and dengue fever in the tropical and subtropical regions of the world. There may be other FDA-approved drugs we didn’t realize can also be insecticides.”
The next steps to develop the genome-centric method are to explore other drugs through an in vivo assay to discover insecticidal or larvicidal properties and identify novel chemicals that affect the targeted receptor of disease-carrying insects. Hill and Watts also are looking to develop private-public partnerships to determine the most effective methods to deliver these insecticides.