Scientists successfully breed symbiotic bacteria in mosquitoes to control dengue fever

In a breakthrough, Chinese scientists have successfully bred symbiotic bacteria in mosquitoes to inhibit the spread of dengue fever in south China’s Guangdong Province.

The scientists from Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou City inject Wolbachia into Aedes albopictus, a kind of mosquito originating in South Asia and often spread dengue viruses.

Wolbachia is a genus of bacteria that only live inside insect cells and can inhibit dengue viruses in mosquitoes.

“Dengue viruses normally need to replicate in mosquitoes. But the symbiotic bacteria can prevent the replication of the viruses. So the viruses are controlled in the mosquitoes,” said Xi Zhiyong, medical professor at Sun Yat-sen University.

Earlier this year in March, the research team has launched a pilot program in the city and released mosquitoes carrying with Wolbachia into nature.

The scientists have planned to release a large number of male mosquitoes carrying Wolbachia into nature and reduce mosquito population in order to control the spread of dengue viruses.

“All mosquito eggs cannot hatch due to our control in some areas. In other areas, at least half of the eggs cannot hatch,” said Xi.

According to Xi, mosquitoes with Wolbachia will not harm people because the bacteria cannot survive in human bodies.

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