Susceptibility of Wolbachia mosquito control to temperature shifts

E. P. Caragata,  Nature Climate Change,  13:767-768. 2023.

Vásquez and colleagues consider the potential impacts of increasing and variable temperatures on Wolbachia-based population-replacement interventions. Previous laboratory experiments have highlighted the temperature-sensitive nature of Wolbachia, with high average daily temperatures and prolonged heatwaves potentially decreasing Wolbachia titre, leading to weakening or loss of maternal transmission, cytoplasmic incompatibility and virus blocking . In nature, this could potentially hinder or thwart interventions. Vásquez and colleagues use Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 climate projections to model the efficacy of population-replacement interventions utilizing the wMel Wolbachia strain in Ae. aegypti in Cairns, Australia, and in Nha Trang, Vietnam, two current intervention sites. Their mechanistic models compare population-replacement efficiency under current temperature regimes, and those projected for the 2030s (2024–2039) and 2050s (2044–2059). These models also incorporate loss of wMel infection at an average daily temperature threshold of 35 °C (based on laboratory data ), or more stringently, at 33 °C or 31.5 °C.

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