The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) revealed on 17 January 2020, that it has engineered the first breed of mosquitoes resistant to spreading all four types of the dengue virus.
Prasad Paradkar, a Senior Research Scientist with the CSIRO, said that the disease is at epidemic levels in tropical and subtropical regions worldwide, with outbreaks currently occurring in Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and the Philippines. According to the CSIRO more than half the world’s population is at risk of infection and the disease currently costs the global economy 40 billion Australian dollars (27.5 billion US dollars) every year. The CSIRO collaborated with Omar Akbari from the University of California San Diego on the landmark breakthrough.
“This breakthrough work also has the potential to have broader impacts on controlling other mosquito-transmitted viruses,” Akbari said.
“We are already in the early stages of testing methods to simultaneously neutralise mosquitoes against dengue and a suite of other viruses such as Zika, yellow fever and chikungunya.”