Have any biocontrol measures been applied to mosquito vectors?

Categories: english, Public Health Applications

Yes, several biological control approaches are being taken against mosquitoes.

  • Fish: Among the more conventional biocontrol approaches, fish such as those in the genus Gambusia (aka “mosquitofish”) have been employed for controlling mosquito breeding in water bodies, such as rice cultivation areas, for decades.
  • Bacteria: Some isolates of the bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis and Bacillus sphaericus are widely used to control mosquitoes and are sold for use by gardeners and property owners as an alternative to chemical pesticides.
  • Fungi: Fungi such as Beauveria bassiana and Metarhizium anisopliae are readily available biological control agents for use against mosquitoes. For example, Beauveria bassiana is an active ingredient in some of the mosquito control products of In2Care, a mosquito trap developed to protect humans against mosquitoes that transmit the Zika, chikungunya, yellow fever, and dengue viruses.
  • Genetic: Genetic biocontrol approaches are also being applied to mosquitoes. Genetic biocontrol methods can be used to reduce the numbers of mosquito vectors or limit their ability to carry one or more pathogens. For example, three versions of the Sterile Insect Technique are being tested in Aedes aegypti, a mosquito responsible for transmitting dengue, yellow fever, Zika and other human pathogenic viruses. These techniques include: classical Sterile Insect Technique employing radiation-induced sterilization to reduce productive mating; Incompatible Insect Technique that exploits certain effects of the intracellular bacterium Wolbachia to prevent productive mating; genetically engineered mosquitoes which contain genes that are lethal to the next generation of mosquitoes. A different type of method, meant to have persistent effects, uses Wolbachia bacteria in a way that permanently immunizes the mosquito Aedes aegypti against infection by dengue, yellow fever, and Zika viruses.

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