Researchers hailing from Indonesia have experimented with ‘good’ mosquitoes to fight diseases like Dengue. This particular insect being bred carries a specific kind of bacteria that will prevent the virus from growing in our bodies. The trial was a joint effort by Indonesia’s Gadjah Mada University and Monash University in Australia.
These mosquitoes carry a bacteria called ‘Wolbachia’, which is extremely common. Research by the World Mosquito Program (WMP) stated that this is present in 60% of insects like fruit flies, moths, dragonflies, butterflies and only a handful of mosquitoes. The only exceptions are the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes that carry the Dengue virus. Wolbachia’s efficacy rates were studied and published in June by the New England Journal of Medicine. The inferences showed that the mosquitoes carrying this bacteria reduced 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.