Millions of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes inoculated with bacteria that reduce the spread of dengue, chikungunya and Zika infections started to be released in Rio de Janeiro by Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fundação Oswaldo Cruz, Fiocruz), public research institution and laboratories in Brazil. Fiocruz ensures that these mosquitoes have no health risks to people or the environment.

The project, supported by the Brazilian authorities, is part of Australian “The Eliminate Dengue Program”, began in late 2016 with a large scale reproduction of female Aedes infected with Wolbachia bacteria, which is common in butterflies, dragonflies and spiders.

The researchers found that when an Aedes aegypti mosquito is infected with Wolbachia bacteria, reduces the mosquito’s ability to transmit viruses such as dengue, Chikungunya and Zika. When the infected specimens are released, they will pass the infection to future generations, as if they were immunizing other mosquitoes, said project manager Luciano Moreira.

Currently, Fiocruz can reproduce 1.6 million of these mosquitoes per week and hopes to soon reach 3 million. After a pilot program carried out in  2014 was successful, the foundation began releasing mosquitoes in Niteroi (outside Rio) and in Ilha do Governador, north of Rio, with the idea releasing mosquitos in different areas of Rio until ends 2018.

The same program, led by Australia’s Monash University, works in Queensland (Australia), Medellin (Colombia), Puducherry (India), Yogyakarta (Indonesia) and Nha Trang (Vietnam).

 

Source: Agencia ID