Advances in vector control science: Rear-and-release strategies show promise… but don’t forget the basics

Ritchie, SAJ, B. J.,  Journal of Infectious Diseases,  215:S103-S108. 2017.

Both chikungunya and Zika viruses have recently swept from Africa across the Pacific to the Americas, causing major outbreaks of disease in humans. In the meantime, dengue epidemics continue throughout the tropics. Traditional vector control programs based on strategies from 1950s and 1960s have been relatively ineffective in combating recent epidemics. In response, new methods involving the rearing and releasing of large numbers of mosquitoes to eliminate or modify local Aedes populations are being developed, with several currently conducting field releases in high-risk countries. These advances, include the release of Wolbachia-infected Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus, for either its virus-blocking capabilities, sterilization by cytoplasmic incompatibility, or both; the release of Aedes carrying dominant lethal genes, such as the OX513A strain of A. aegypti; and other emerging techniques, such as advancing gene-drive technologies, are summarized, as well as current stages of development and primary operational and regulatory hurdles. Although these technologies show great promise, none are ready for widespread rollout for cities of millions of people. Thus, efforts should be made to avoid methods such as space sprays that have failed and improve existing technologies to increase their efficacy.