Wolbachia-Virus interactions and arbovirus control through population replacement in mosquitoes

T. H. Ant, M. V. Mancini, C. J. McNamara, S. M. Rainey and S. P. Sinkins,  Pathogens and Global Health,  2022.

Following transfer into the primary arbovirus vector Aedes aegypti, several strains of the intracellular bacterium Wolbachia have been shown to inhibit the transmission of dengue, Zika, and chikungunya viruses, important human pathogens that cause significant morbidity and mortality worldwide. In addition to pathogen inhibition, many Wolbachia strains manipulate host reproduction, resulting in an invasive capacity of the bacterium in insect populations. This has led to the deployment of Wolbachia as a dengue control tool, and trials have reported significant reductions in transmission in release areas. Here, we discuss the possible mechanisms of Wolbachia-virus inhibition and the implications for long-term success of dengue control. We also consider the evidence presented in several reports that Wolbachia may cause an enhancement of replication of certain viruses under particular conditions, and conclude that these should not cause any concerns with respect to the application of Wolbachia to arbovirus control.

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