Jan 18 Thursday 2018 09:19 PM
Scientists in a very rare experiment have started to release mosquitoes that have been infected by a substance called Wolbachia, into the environment of Singapore . The motive is to fight diseases like dengue and Zika fever caused by viruses and spread by mosquitoes. The scientists of Monash University in Australia, first came up with this idea, in the year 2011, at the World Mosquito Program.
Wolbachia is a bacteria that causes a disease for many insects and worms. It lives only inside insect cells and occurs naturally in 60 percent of all insect species like butterflies, dragonflies, and moths. These bacteria can transfer only from the parent to the offspring. And the best part is that these bacteria cannot be transmitted to warm-blooded animals, like humans. The scientists found out that Wolbachia reduces the ability of viruses like Zika, Dengue and Chikungunya, etc. to reproduce. So, if mosquitoes are infected with these viruses, it will infect others with Wolbachia. Soon, all will disappear from the area. It was demonstrated at the World Mosquito Program that Wolbachia is safe, and cannot be transferred to humans. So far, mosquitoes carrying Wolbachia have been released in Singapore. Australia, Brazil, Colombia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Vietnam, Kiribati, Fiji and Vanuatu have decided to go with it as well.
Till date, scientists were engaged in making medicines and vaccines to fight Zika, etc. However, they never thought of infecting the disease-causing virus with another virus that can destroy it. … And when they did, they came up with a unique solution! This is one of the fruits of looking into problems creatively.
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