Researchers Find New Approach To Control Dengue, Zika By Genetically Modifying Mosquitoes

N. Sharma,  R.,  2020.

Apart from the novel coronavirus, there are other diseases plaguing the mankind. Every year, a huge number of people die from mosquito-borne diseases. Mosquitoes, considered to be the deadliest living creatures, transmit viruses which lead to harmful infections like Dengue and Zika. A new study carried out in Indonesia has shown that dengue infection rates decreased in regions where the genetically modified mosquitoes were introduced.

The aim of the impact study is to control diseases like Dengue fever and Zika virus. A French company called InnovaFeed, which produces insects to feed livestock, has collaborated with the Australian research World Mosquito Program (WMP) to make the first industrial-level production of mosquitoes.These modified mosquitoes can be released outisde in order to reduce the number of mosquitoes that carry diseases like dengue or the Zika virus, as an effective means of controlling the blood-sucking creatures’ population.

Ten years ago, WMP unveiled a project, partly funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The project focused on immunizing female mosquitoes with a bacterium which removes the transmission of viruses such as dengue to humans. These mosquitoes inoculated with the bacterium called Wolbachia were let free in Australia, followed by Brazil, New Caledonia, and Indonesia. In Indonesia, the impact study carried out on 300,000 people showed that dengue infection rates decreased by 77 percent in the areas where the genetically modified mosquitoes were let loose.


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