Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Out with the mosquitoes. In with the Wolbachia!

A University of Kentucky professor (disclaimer: good friend), Dr. Stephen Dobson, and his former student have teamed up to form MosquitoMate - a company aimed at using a unique approach to getting rid of mosquitoes and their transmitted viruses. Many of the readers of this blog will be familiar with the Eliminate Dengue project in which mosquitoes infected with bacterium Wolbachia are released with the aim of replacing uninfected populations that can transmit human disease agents with Wolbachia-infected ones that can not transmit the disease. 

This new approach aims to release just Wolbachia-infected males to sterilize female mosquitoes in nature. By doing so, the mosquito population size can be crashed, if not eliminated wholesale. A great video and some selected quotes below:

"Most mosquito control companies use chemical pesticides which are sprayed out of trucks and planes, or maybe out of a backpack sprayer," Dobson said. "Ours is a very different approach. By using a natural bacterium called Wolbachia and the mosquitoes' innate ability to find mates, we are applying an approach which does not require chemicals."

"A big advantage to our method is that the male mosquitoes are 'self-delivering.' We don't need to devote hours in finding and treating all the mosquitoes in your yard. The male mosquitoes find the females for us," Mains said.

I really like this work! Good luck to the team. 

No comments:

Post a Comment