Researchers hailing from Indonesia have come up with what they call 'good' mosquitoes to fight diseases like Dengue. This particular insect that are being bred, carry a particular kind of bacteria that will prevent the virus to grow in our bodies. The trial was a joint effort of Indonesia's Gadjah Mada University and Monash University in Australia.
These mosquitoes carry a bacteria called 'Wolbachia', which is extremely common. As quoted by Gulf News, research by the World Mosquito Program (WMP) states that this is present in 60% of insects like moths, dragonflies, fruit flies, butterflies and only a handful of mosquitoes. The only exceptions are the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, that carry the Dengue virus.
Efficacy Studied In New England
For a trial basis, these mosquitoes were released in Yogyakarta, where there were the most dengue fever 'red zones' to see how effective this will be in combating the detrimental virus.
Wolbachia's efficacy was studied and published in June by New England Journal of Medicine. The inferences showed that the mosquitoes carrying this bacteria actually reduces Dengue cases by 77% and hospitalisations by 86%.
"In principle, we are breeding the 'good' mosquitoes. The mosquitoes carrying Dengue will mate with mosquitoes carrying Wolbachia, which will produce Wolbachia mosquitoes- the 'good' mosquitoes. So even if they bite people, it won't affect them," said a WMP community cadre named Purwanti.
The program's lead researcher, Adi Utarini, full faith in this method shared, "We're confident in this technology, particularly for areas where the Aedes aegypti mosquito is the most responsible (infection) factor."
The Dengue Danger
Dengue continues to wreak havoc on a global level. The World Health Organisation (WHO) states that the global dengue infections have increased at a rapid rate in this decade. Around 100 to 400 million infections are reported each year.
In India itself, over 1 lakh cases of Dengue have been reported. States like Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Delhi, Uttarakhand, etc, have registered the bulk of the country's cases.