Transient Introgression of Wolbachia into Aedes aegypti Populations Does Not Elicit an Antibody Response to Wolbachia Surface Protein in Community Members

E. Lee, T. Hien Nguyen, T. Yen Nguyen, S. Nam Vu, N. Duong Tran, L. Trung Nghia, Q. Mai Vien, T. Dong Nguyen, R. Kriiger Loterio, I. Iturbe-Ormaetxe, H. A. Flores, S. L. O'Neill, D. Anh Dang, C. P. Simmons and J. E. Fraser,  Pathogens,  11. 2022.

Wolbachia is an endosymbiotic bacterium that can restrict the transmission of human pathogenic viruses by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. Recent field trials have shown that dengue incidence is significantly reduced when Wolbachia is introgressed into the local Ae. aegypti population. Female Ae. aegypti are anautogenous and feed on human blood to produce viable eggs. Herein, we tested whether people who reside on Tri Nguyen Island (TNI), Vietnam developed antibodies to Wolbachia Surface Protein (WSP) following release of Wolbachia-infected Ae. aegypti, as a measure of exposure to Wolbachia. Paired blood samples were collected from 105 participants before and after mosquito releases and anti-WSP titres were measured by ELISA. We determined no change in anti-WSP titres after ~30 weeks of high levels of Wolbachia-Ae. aegypti on TNI. These data suggest that humans are not exposed to the major Wolbachia surface antigen, WSP, following introgression of Wolbachia-infected Ae. aegypti mosquitoes.

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