Study demonstrates ‘exciting potential’ of Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes to control dengue

G. Gallagher,  Healio,  2021.

The release of Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes led to a 77% reduction in the incidence of symptomatic dengue in an Indonesian city, according to researchers, who said the same approach could be used to fight other mosquito-borne diseases. The study tested a strain of Wolbachia pipientis called wMel that makes Aedes aegypti mosquitoes less susceptible to dengue virus infection. Wolbachia pipientis occurs naturally in many insects but not A. aegypti, the primary vector of dengue, according to Adi Utarini, PhD, MPH, MSc, and colleagues from the nonprofit World Mosquito Program, which has been releasing Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes in the wild since 2011. A study in Indonesia demonstrated the potential of a natural intervention to significantly reduce the incidence of dengue, the world’s most prevalent mosquito-borne disease. “Wolbachia facilitates its own population introgression by manipulating reproductive outcomes between wild-type and Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes: the only viable mating outcomes are those in which the progeny are infected with Wolbachia,” they wrote in the new report, which was published Wednesday in The New England Journal of Medicine.

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