Inside the insectary
The mosquitoes are kept in secure laboratories, within a special containment unit that features restricted entries and exits and through pre-rooms and multiple doors. They are raised in the warm, humid conditions they need to survive, and fed on sugar.
To study the efficacy of our molecules in blocking malaria transmission, we have implemented the “standard membrane feeding test” - the most relevant method at present to prove transmission blockage.
In this process, female mosquitoes are infected by giving them a blood meal containing Plasmodium falciparum parasites that has been treated with different experimental compounds. After allowing time for the parasite to grow in the mosquitoes, the insects are anaesthetised, killed and dissected.
We then count how many viable parasites are present and have reached the stage of their lifecycle where they could transfer to human hosts. This shows us how effective each compound could potentially be.
Today, the insectary is fully operational and we are running transmission-blocking tests on our experimental compounds. The next step is to use infected mosquitoes and to a run similar test in another life stage of the parasite – the liver-stage – which would mean we had run tests in the full life-cycle of the malaria parasite.
 WHO Factsheet on the World Malaria Report 2013 http://www.who.int/malaria/media/world_malaria_report_2013/en/