KUALA LUMPUR, March 4 — A pilot study using Aedes mosquitoes infected with the Wolbachia bacteria has seen an 80 per cent decrease in dengue cases in seven hotspots.
New Straits Times (NST) reported that the pilot study, which was launched in March 2017, took place in Keramat here and in Shah Alam, Selangor, where three million Aedes aegypti mosquitoes infected with Wolbachia, a natural bacteria present in most insect species, were released.
Institute for Medical Research director Dr Fadzilah Kamaludin told NST that once the “invasion” of the Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes reached its peak, more than 90 per cent of dengue transmission would be stopped.
Mosquitoes with Wolbachia have a lesser ability to transmit viruses to humans, such as dengue, Zika, chikungunya, and yellow fever.
“Studies by our collaborators indicated that this strain is tolerant to tropical temperatures. As long as the mosquito has Wolbachia, the dengue virus cannot multiply, hence transmission will be interrupted,” Dr Fadzilah was quoted saying.
She reportedly said dengue reductions of 77 per cent and 80 per cent were seen in AU2 Keramat and Mentari Court in Shah Alam the same year the mosquitoes with Wolbachia were first released.