Virus-blocking mosquitos to the rescue!

mosquitosIn an interesting example of animal research in action, it was found that mosquitos carrying Wolbachia bacteria cannot transmit dengue. So, mosquitos engineered to carry this bacteria- as well as transmit it to their offspring- were painstakingly hand-transported to an island off the coast of Vietnam (where dengue is a serious problem) in an attempt to replace the indigenous mosquito population. Read more in a post earlier this month:

People on the island are welcoming their new ‘pests’- they take care to allow these mosquitos to live, understanding that an increase in the Wolbachia mosquito population is critical! Researchers estimate that people on the island will be protected from dengue when the Wolbachia mosquito population reaches 80%- and in recent news- it’s up to about 65% and climbing!

Amazing! While researchers are still working on vaccines and treatments for dengue (of which there currently are none), this creative approach to the problem is a great example of animal research at work. In an attempt to save human populations, while introducing a bacteria that won’t do any damage to the ecosystem, this is a great example of ingenuity in research. Keep it up, guys!