Last year, scientists at the Australian Federal Scientific and Technological Research Organisation (CSIRO) made a major breakthrough by engineering mosquitoes that can cut off the zika virus’s transmission chain. Now, the team has applied the same technology to the Aedes aegypti mosquito, hoping it will stop the spread of the dengue virus. Dengue fever is a debilitating disease that can cause rashes, muscle pain, headaches and, in severe cases, a large amount of bleeding and endanger ingress stolic lives.
(From: CSIRO, via New Atlas)
Dengue fever infects humans through mosquito bites, and the Aedes aegypti mosquito is identified as the number one vector to spread among people. Dr Prasad Paradkar, senior research scientist at CSIRO, said:
Effective global strategies are urgently needed to control the mosquitoes that transmit the dengue virus, as there are no known treatments and vaccines are limited.
The good news is that the Paradkar team has created the first mosquitoes to be fully immune to dengue fever, based on new technology last year to adapt mosquitoes that can fight the spread of the Zika virus.
Although scientists have made some progress toward this goal, the mosquitoes can only cope with one or two serotypes of the dengue virus.
Paradkar added: “They pioneered the provision of an engineered method that can resist all four types of dengue fever, and new technologies are critical to the suppression of these diseases.”
Academics are concerned about the high incidence of mosquito-borne dengue fever in the coming years, which is why CRISO is committed to developing new ways to address this global challenge.
The good news is that the new approach is expected to play a crucial role in curbing dengue outbreaks. More than 390 million people worldwide are estimated to be infected with dengue fever each year, with an estimated economic loss of about $40 billion.
If the breakthrough goes ahead, the project will have a significant global impact on the mosquitoes. In addition, the potential of this technology will not end with dengue fever and could be extended to other forms of mosquito-borne diseases in the future.
“This breakthrough work could have a broader impact on the control of other mosquito-borne viruses,” said study co-author Omar Akbari, an associate professor at the University of California, San Diego.
We are in the early stages of testing methods while targeting mosquitoes to fight dengue and a range of other viruses, including but not limited to the Zika virus, yellow fever, and chikungunya fever.
Details of the study have been published in the recent lys in the journal Public Library of Science: Pathogens (PLOS Pathogens). , originally titled:
Broad dengue neutralization in mosquitoes expressing an engineered antibody