Dengue Fever Cut Down by 77% With Groundbreaking Bacteria-Armed Mosquitoes

M. Davis,  The Science Times,  2021.

Scientists found that dengue fever cases have decreased by 77% in a groundbreaking trial that took place in Yogyakarta City, Indonesia. They used Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes that reduced their ability to spread the dengue fever. The team at the World Mosquito Program said that this could be a solution to dengue fever that is prevalent around the world. Dr. Katie Anders, one of the researchers, described the trial of using Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes in Indonesia as a “naturally miraculous” solution. Wolbachia is a virus-fighting bacteria that has been approved since 2017 by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for use in the United States. Other interventions, like genetically modified mosquitoes, are also used to combat dengue fever and other diseases caused by mosquitoes. According to BBC News, Wolbachia does not harm the mosquito, but it will only be stored in the same parts of the mosquito’s body where the dengue virus is kept. It competes for the resources, preventing the dengue virus to replicate, and therefore the mosquito is less likely to cause the infection when it bites. Moreover, Wolbachia bacteria can also manipulate and alter the fertility of their hosts. They make sure that they are passed on to the next generation of mosquitoes, which means they are established and should stick around for a long time to continue their protective abilities against dengue fever.

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