Researchers from the University of Glasgow and University of Melbourne along with the Institute for Medical Research in Malaysia conducted clinical trials in Kuala Lumpur using a strain of the bacteria Wolbachia, developed by scientists in Scotland and Australia as a way to block the transmission of the mosquito-borne dengue virus. Of note, once the mosquitos carrying the wAlbB strain were released, dengue case reports declined by 40 percent.
ScienceFocus reports that the researchers organized six research sites where they released batches of aedes aegypti mosquitos, both male and female, that carried the developed strain. As the released mosquitos mated with the wild mosquitos, the researchers discovered that the result was the spread of the virus-inhibiting bacteria. In prior research, researchers used a different strain which didn’t perform as well in in the extremely hot conditions at or near the equator.
Professor Steven Sinkins, MRC-University of Glasgow Centre for Virus Research and lead contact of the study reported “We are excited by these findings, which show that we can have a strain of Wolbachia that be used to effectively reduce the number of dengue cases in very hot climates.” Sinkins continued that they will now work to “deploy this strain in more and larger sites” as “we are now confident that this will become an effective way to control dengue on a large scale.”
Call to Action: Interested in Dengue Fever prevention research? Connect with Professor Sinkins, who is an expert in this field. He is based at the University of Glasgow Centre for Virus Research.