A new study published in Science Translational Medicine by a team of international scientists from Imperial College London, the University of California and the University of Florida suggests that they infect mosquitoes with a natural bacteria that prevents the virus from replicating in mosquitoes and losing the ability to transmit the virus,media reported.
Dengue fever is a viral infection that infects more than 100 million people each year. According to the latest estimates, about half of the world’s population is considered to be at risk. In some cases, it can lead to a life-threatening disease called haemorrhagic fever, which is the leading cause of death and serious illness among children in some Asian and Latin American countries.
To do this, the team created the first-ever global map of the intensity of dengue transmission, which measures how easy it is to spread dengue from person to person.
Previous studies have shown that mosquitoes infected with Wolbachia do not transmit dengue fever because bacteria prevent the virus from replicating inside insects, which is found in about 60 percent of insect species.
As a result, in a strictly controlled trial, the researchers were able to selectively infect dengue-carrying mosquitoes (Aedes aegypti mosquitoes) by using Wolpaella and release them to areas infected with dengue fever.
The results showed that mosquitoes carrying Wolbachia did not pose a threat to animals or humans in the released areas, and that the release of these modified mosquitoes in areas severely affected by dengue reduced by 70 percent.
The researchers also simulated the effectiveness of the Sanofi Pastad vaccine in all dengue-affected areas and found that the number of dengue cases could be reduced by only 30 percent. This is because the vaccine only reduces the likelihood of serious illness, but does not stop the spread of the virus.
Using data from laboratory and mathematical models, scientists predicted through their maps that this method could even eliminate almost all cases of dengue fever. But the scientists also stressthat that this must be further confirmed in larger trials.