Dengue: a successful test in Australia to eradicate the mosquitoes

A promising test for the eradication of female mosquitoes has worked to combat dengue fever, a dangerous viral infection.

More than 80% of a colony of mosquitoes infected with dengue has been wiped out in an Australian city with a promising test to fight this dangerous viral infection, according to the results of a scientific study .

Scientists from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), an Australian public scientific research organization, have reproduced millions of non-spicy Aedes aegypti male mosquitoes as part of a project funded by Alfabet, the parent company of Google.

The insects were infected with Wolbachia bacteria, rendering them sterile. They were later released in Innisfail, a city in the Queensland Regional State (northeast). For more than three months, they fertilized females that laid eggs that had not hatched, causing a vertiginous drop in their population.

The mosquito Aedes aegypti, one of the most dangerous in the world, is the vector of dengue fever, zika virus, chikungunya and yellow fever. It is responsible for the infection of millions of people every year in the world. “Therefore, this scientific test is a major breakthrough,” says Kyran Stauton,  of Australia’s James Cook University.

“We learned a lot from participating in this first tropical trial and we are happy to see this method applied to other areas where Aedes aegypti is a threat to life and health,” he said.

This technique of sterilizing insects is not new, but required a much larger pool of work to find the males, remove biting females and then release them in numbers large enough to annihilate a population. “We are very pleased to see a significant elimination of these dangerous Aedes aegypti biting mosquitoes,” said Nigel Snoad of Verily Life Science Company (Alphabet), who funded the project.

Sarah Ali

Sarah is currently pursuing a degree in Pharmacology at the University of Florida. She focuses on health news and tips for The Talking Democrat.