Ronald Ross Discoverer of Mosquito role in Malaria


    Journey of Ronald Ross Discoverer of Mosquito’s Vector role in Malaria


        • Sir Ronald Ross, is also good in Maths , Poetry  and is a Composer of songs also
          • Sir Ronald Ross, KCB, FRS (13 May 1857 – 16 September 1932), was an Indian-born British medical doctor who received the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1902 for his work on malaria.
          • He was quite a polymath, writing a number of poems, published several novels, and composed songs. He was also an amateur artist and natural mathematician.
          • He worked in the Indian Medical Service for 25 years. It was during his service that he made the groundbreaking medical discovery.



          • Discovery of malaria vector : Ross’s long journey from May 1895 to
            • First important step – Ross observed the early stages of malarial parasite inside a mosquito stomach in May 1895
            • He was deployed to Bangalore to investigate an outbreak of cholera. Bangalore had no regular cases of malaria. He confided to Manson stating, “I am thrown out of employment and have ‘no work to do’.”
            • But in April he had a chance to visit SigurGhat near the hill station of Ooty, where he noticed a mosquito on the wall in a peculiar posture, and for this he called it “dappled-winged” mosquito, not knowing the species.
            • In May 1896, almost an year after his first step ,he was given a short leave that enabled him to visit a malaria-endemic region around Ooty.
            • He himself had malaria – In spite of his daily quinine prophylaxis, he was down with severe malaria three days after his arrival.
            • In June he was transferred to Secunderabad.
            • After two years of research failure, in July 1897, he managed to culture 20 adult “brown” mosquitoes from collected larvae.
            • He successfully infected the mosquitoes from a patient named Husein Khan for a price of 8 annas (one anna per blood-fed mosquito!).
            • After blood-feeding, he dissected the mosquito and found an “almost perfectly circular” cell from the gut, which was certainly not of the mosquito.
            • He published this observation in 18 December 1897 issue of British Medical Journal
            • On 20 August , 1897 he confirmed the presence of the malarial parasite inside the gut of Anopheles
            • In September 1897 he was transferred to Bombay, from where he was subsequently sent to a malaria-free Kherwara in Rajputana (now Rajasthan). Frustrated of lack of work he threatened to resign from service as he felt that it was a death blow to his pursuit.
            • His friend  Patrick Manson sent a representation to  government and arranged for his continued service in Calcutta on an “special duty”.
            • On 17 February 1898 he arrived in Calcutta (now Kolkata), to work in the Presidency General Hospital.
            • He immediately carried out research in malaria and kalaazar, for which he was assigned. He was given the use of Surgeon-Lieutenant-General Cunningham’s laboratory for his research.
            • Those days malarial patients were always immediately given medication. And hence he had no success in proving the facts .
            • He built a bungalow with a laboratory at Mahanad village, where he would stay from time to time to collect mosquitoes in and around the village.
            • He was assisted by Kishori Mohan Bandyopadhyay, an Indian scientist, who resided at Panihati across Mahanad.
            • Manson , his friend persuaded him to use birds, as being used by other scientists. Ross complied but with a complaint that he “did not need to be in India to study bird malaria“.
            • By March he began to see results on bird parasites, very closely related to the human malarial parasites.
            • Using more convenient model of birds, by July 1898 he established the importance of mosquitoes as intermediate hosts in avian malaria.
            • On 4 July he discovered that the salivary gland was the storage sites of malarial parasites in the mosquito.
            • By 8 July he was convinced that tha parasites are released from the salivary gland during biting.
            • He later demonstrated the transmission of malarial parasite from mosquitoes (in this case Culex species) to healthy birds from an infected one, thus, establishing the complete life cycle of malarial parasite
          • Ross thought that even Kala azar is transmitted by mosquito
            • In September 1898 he went to southern Assam in (northeast India) to study an epidemic of kalaazar. He was invited to work there by Dr Graham Col Ville Ramsay, the second Medical Officer of the Labac Tea Estate Hospital. (His microscope and medicals tools are still preserved, and his sketches of mosquitoes are still on display at the hospital.)
            • However, he utterly failed as he believed that the kalaazar parasite (Leishmaniadonovani, the very scientific name he later gave in 1903) was transmitted by a mosquito, which he refers to as Anopheles rossi. (It is now known that kalaazaris due to sandfly.)













    Patrick Manson (1844-1922), who discovered that the worms of elephantiasis could be transmitted by mosquitoes