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Eliminating the Culprit Behind the Zika Virus

March 21st, 2016

Eliminating the Culprit Behind the Zika Virus

The World Health Organization (WHO) has called for two pilot projects to be formed to test two experimental ways to curb the mosquito population spreading the Zika virus. They believe that isolating the effective way to control the mosquito could have a huge impact on our ability to fight this disease. WHO specialists reviewed five potential new ways of dealing with the Aedes Agypti mosquito, which is reported to be tenacious and opportunistic, during a meeting of the WHO’s Vector Control Advisory Group. They settled on moving forward with testing with two of the five methods.

The three that were rejected were still too experimental to study on a larger scale. These three methods include vector traps, toxic sugar baits, and an insect sterilization technique.

The first method that is going to be tested on a larger scale is a process in which genetically modified male mosquitos are introduced into the wild mosquito population. When these lab-bred males mate with wild females, their offspring will die before they can reach adulthood, keeping them from reproducing, and suppressing the wild mosquito population.

The second method infects lab-bred mosquitos with Wolbachia bacteria. The mosquitos carrying the bacteria are then released into the wild mosquito population where they mate with wild females. The eggs of these female fail to hatch when they mate with an infected male. In the past, this method has proven to reduce the transmission of other mosquito-borne illnesses such dengue fever.

Isn’t it about time we were getting closer to dealing with the root of the problem: the mosquitos? What kind of impact do you think this will have on the spread of the virus?

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