SINGAPORE AIMS TO DEFEAT DENGUE VIRUS BY RELEASING MORE MOSQUITOES
SINGAPORE, Singapore’s environmental authorities are preparing for the next phase in a project which involves introducing more mosquitoes as part of the country’s ongoing battle against the dengue virus.
Project Wolbachia involves releasing male Wolbachia-Aedes mosquitoes in three clusters around the country, according to a press release issued by the National Environment Agency (NEA) on Monday, adding that the second stage of the initiative will begin in April.
Wolbachia is a naturally occurring bacteria found in 60 per cent of all insect species and is considered safe for humans, animals and the environment, according to the World Mosquito Program.
However, Wolbachia is not usually found in the Aedes aegypti mosquito, the primary species responsible for transmitting human viruses such as Zika, dengue and chikungunya.
When male Wolbachia-Aedes mosquitoes mate with Aedes aegypti females, the resultant eggs do not hatch.
The project aims to continually release male Wolbachia-Aedes mosquitoes to reduce the viability of the Aedes aegypti eggs and reducing the Aedes aegypti mosquito population, the press release stated.
The second stage will see researchers attempting to solve challenges that surfaced in the first phase, which include ensuring sufficient numbers of male Wolbachia-Aedes mosquitoes are present at higher altitudes, especially in Singapore’s high-rise urban environment.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), dengue is the world’s most prolific mosquito-borne virus disease, with 20 million cases a year across more than 100 countries.
Source: NAM News Network