Experiment to “hack” mosquito-infected bacteria to eliminate dengue fever

A picture of an Aedes aegypti mosquito infected with the bacterium Wolbachia, taken on October 2, 2014 at the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

picture Aedes aegypti infected mosquito Wolbachia Bacteria were collected on October 2, 2014 at the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
picture: Christophe Simon/AFP (Getty Images)

An unorthodox trick for tackling dengue fever in Indonesia seems to have gone well.

In a new study Scientists released this week reported that cases of dengue fever A Killermückenkrankheit, It was significantly reduced in areas where infected mosquitoes intentionally introduced the bacteria البكتيريا communicate Wolbachia. bacteria It is believed to prevent mosquitoes to contract dengue fever. These results are the strongest evidence to date Wolbachia It can help get rid of dengue fever and other nasty mosquito-borne diseases.

Dengue fever has become one of the most common infections worldwide in the past few decades. Also known as broken bone fever due to the debilitating pain it can cause, a viral disease estimated It affects up to 400 million people worldwide and infects 100 million people annually. It rarely develops into a life-threatening infection Severe internal bleeding, also known as hemorrhagic nevus;

The consequences of dengue fever have always made it an attractive target for research. The first of its kind in 2016 Dengue vaccine approved, called Dengvaxia. But the vaccine is only moderately effective Not recommended for people who have not had dengue before because it may increase the risk of serious illness if a person is exposed to dengue for the first time after vaccination (in people who have had dengue before, vaccination helps, subsequent infection). So the best is still needed Dengue control measures.

In the past few years, some scientists have worked on another study strategy, From nature itself, it often carries a lot of insects WolbachiaBacteria that must live in cells in order to survive. WolbachiaInteractions with their hosts can be incredibly complex and often symbiotic, to the point that Insects depend on it to survive. Especially some mosquitoes Aedes aegypti, the main carrier of dengue fever, does not usually carry Wolbachia. But when that happens, the bacteria renders infected male mosquitoes unable to successfully reproduce with uninfected female mosquitoes. infection at the same time Transfer to offspring. This knowledge led scientists to create a file Technique When infected mosquito eggs are dumped in an area, they mature and become adults and then try with no goal Multiply by local femaleThis eventually led to a decrease in the population.

OutsideTheir groups tested a slightly different approach. their search has shown That’s when you press flower. Egyptian Mosquitoes with a specific species Wolbachia The strain generated by fruit flies becomes less able to catch and transmit dengue fever. This mosquito also spread Wolbachia for the next generation to ensure that bacteria continue to act as a deterrent against dengue fever, Without having to try it for a long time Elimination of local mosquito population.

Studies of this method have continued since 2011, including in parts of the United States under the supervision of Global Mosquito Program (WMP). These studies suggested that the strategy could be successful Without negative effects on humans or animals. But the group’s final study lasted three years A randomized controlled trial was conducted in. chest New England Journal of Medicine On Wednesday is their biggest test yet and it seems to have come with flying colors.

The study included nearly 8,000 residents of Yogyakarta, Indonesia, where dengue is endemic. Their neighborhoods were divided into 24 groups, and the team’s infected mosquito eggs were distributed in half of those areas while the indigenous population was left alone in the other half. In areas where infected mosquitoes are grownConfirmed dengue cases decreased by 77% during the study period compared to dengue quarters. Dengue-related hospital stays were also reduced by 86% in the pilot districts.

“The result of this experiment shows a remarkable effect Wolbachia How dengue fever can be reduced in urban dwellers. This result shows what an exciting breakthrough Wolbachia Probably-Co-author Cameron Simmons of Monash University in statement from WMP.

The results of these types of clinical trials, which are often seen as the gold standard for treatment success, are likely to lead to a much greater acceptance of their use. WMP has already committed to addressing the rest of Yogyakarta and hopes to expand its project into areas spanning many regions. Half a billion people are at risk of contracting dengue fever in the next 10 years Assent From Governments and peoples, normal news mentioned last year. Best-Case scenario, this technology, in combination with others, could one day be dengue and other mosquito viruses such as Zika and the Chikungunya.

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