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Dengue News: Scientists Have Finally Created Mosquitos Resistant to Virus

Update Date: Jan 17, 2017 09:00 AM EST
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Scientists report that they were finally able to create dengue-resistant mosquitoes that will minimize the spread of the virus to human beings. Every year, dengue has caused approximately 96 million humans in the world to be sick and over 20,000 have already died, majority of which are children.

If these genetically modified insects can replace the natural mosquitos, scientists are thinking of releasing them in the wild.

According to a published research last January 12 in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases journal, a team of scientist from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore created the genetically modified mosquitos which is called Aedes aegypti mosquitos. These mosquitos have boosted capabilities in fighting the dengue virus infection.

Dengue virus is usually transmitted when a mosquito feeds on someone infected and pass it to the next person. If the boosted mosquitos are released in the wild, they can ultimately replace the natural ones and stop the spread of the deadly virus. A study leader and molecular microbiology and immunology professor at Hopkins says “This is a first step toward that goal”

Although the genetic modifications have successfully made the mosquito resistant to dengue, it did not have the same effect for Zika virus. Although this is bad news, it will still help scientists understand the nature of mosquitos and how they react to different viruses.

This research will serve as their guide in future studies which will hopefully help them create one that is resistant to Zika and other possible deadly virus that will arise in the future.

Today, almost half of the people in the world live in places where they are at risk of being infected by dengue. The virus used to be common only in Southeast Asian countries but it looks like it has spread out up to the Caribbean and Latin America. The team is confident that they will be able to finish their research anytime soon so the dengue-resistant mosquitos will finally be introduced to the wild and serve their purpose.

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