New Technique Wipes out Mosquitoes on two Chinese Islands

By: | July 30th, 2019

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According to World Health Organization (WHO) insects are “one of the deadliest animals in the world,” Because of their ability to spread deadly diseases like dengue, Zika, chikungunya and malaria; they are responsible for killing over one million people a year.

In a big breakthrough, scientists have virtually wiped-out almost entire population of world’s most invasive mosquito species from two islands in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong in just two years.

Asian tiger (Aedes albopictus) mosquito species spreads dengue, Zika, chikungunya and other diseases. Around the world, it affects millions of people.

New technique successfully reduced the female Asian tiger mosquito population by up to 94%, reducing the number of reported human bites by 97%

Scientists did this wonder by sterilizing the female mosquitoes with low level radiation and by infecting the male mosquitoes with the Wolbachia bacteria. After doing so, scientists released them in two islands during their peak breeding seasons.

Sterilized male insects released to mate with wild females, do not produce any offspring, which results in the decline of overall population.

Over 200 million mass-reared both male and female mosquitoes were released, during their peek mating season. This resulted in near elimination of the entire female mosquito population on the two islands.

Zhiyong Xi, a professor at MSU, said, “Our study predicts that the overall future costs of a fully operational intervention using this environmentally friendly approach will be around USD 108 annually, which seems cost-effective in comparison with other mosquito control strategies,”

Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

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