Mutant Mosquitoes Will Be Released To Breed Out Mosquito-Borne Diseases In Brazil

Posted: Oct 29 2016, 12:35pm CDT | by , Updated: Oct 30 2016, 11:51am CDT, in News | Latest Science News

 

Mutant Mosquitoes Will be Released to Breed Out Mosquito-Borne Diseases in Brazil
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Brazilian researchers are planning to release millions of modified mosquitoes for eliminating diseases like dengue, Zika and yellow fever.

Researchers are planning to release millions of modified mosquitoes in different parts of Brazil in order to tackle widespread species of mosquitoes, which will eventually help protect millions of people from mosquito-borne diseases like Zika, yellow fever, dengue and chikungunya. 

The genetically modified mosquitoes will mate with the females of the mosquito species such as Aedes aegypti that carry the threat of several dangerous diseases. Mutant mosquitoes will cause genetically inbuilt flaws in their offspring and lead to their premature death. 

British firm Oxitec’s subsidiary in Piracicaba, Brazil claims that it can produce 60 million mutant mosquitoes a week. Field tests conducted in Panama and the Cayman Islands, as well as the northeastern Brazilian state of Bahia between 2011 and 2014 showed that the population of wild Aedes aegypti dropped by 90 percent with the release of mutant mosquitoes.

If a deal is reached with local authorities, the company will release 10 million factory-bred mosquitoes each week in the city of Piracicaba.

“There are three essential factors for the transmission of these diseases: the mosquitoes, the virus and humans. What we do here is eliminate the mosquitoes, which transmit the virus,” said Oxitec biologist Karla Tepedino.

 “Eliminating the vector, we eliminate the disease.”

The need for insect control is absolutely necessary as the summer in Southern hemisphere is approaching, which also means a surge in the cases of misquote-borne diseases.

The Brazilian ministry of health has officially confirmed 174,000 cases since the outbreak of the epidemic in April 2015. That’s 85.1 cases per 100,000 citizens. The disease was first detected in Brazil and spread across the Americas, Caribbean and then made its way to United States.

Zika, which is still incurable, has been linked to birth defects and brain deformities. Physically, the disease is characterized by an abnormally small head.

In a separate effort, researchers are attempting to control mosquito populations in some areas of Brazil and Colombia with mosquitoes infected with bacterium. Wolbachia naturally occurs in up to 60 percent of all insect species and reduces mosquitoes’ ability to spread viruses to humans.

 

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Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.

 

 

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