Can We Immunize Mosquitoes In Tracys Landing, MD?
St. James isn’t only the writer of a book in the Bible, it’s also the name of one of the oldest churches in Maryland. You can also pass by the cemetery on its land and check out what’s considered to be the oldest grave, dated 1655, in Maryland.
Back in those days, settlers were battling lots of diseases including those spread by mosquitoes. Over 300 years later, scientists are still trying to figure out how to defeat the illnesses carried by these flying carriers. Dengue is a virus that is spread by mosquitoes and has been targeted in a most recent study.
“Mosquitoes have been given the bad rap of being the deadliest killers on the planet because they are the messengers that transmit diseases like malaria, dengue, chikungunya, Zika and yellow fever that collectively put 6.5 billion people at risk globally,” said Suresh Subramani, professor emeritus of molecular biology at UC San Diego and global director of the Tata Institute for Genetics and Society (TIGS). “Until recently, the world has focused on shooting (killing) this messenger. Work from the Akbari lab and at TIGS is aimed at disarming the mosquito instead by preventing it from transmitting diseases, without killing the messenger. Read more at Science Daily…
Dengue infects millions of people in the tropic and sub-tropic regions like South America and Asia and other areas that Americans visit. It shows up as severe fevers, rashes, and life-threatening bleeding. Now, with this antibody created against Dengue that can be placed in Aedes aegypti mosquitos, we can target the disease instead of the carrier!
You may have already taken preventive steps against mosquitos but the truth is, while that helps, there are some infections that slip through the cracks.
Conventional control strategies for dengue, such as removing stagnant water where mosquitoes breed, spraying insecticides, and protecting people with bed nets, have failed to defeat the virus, which infects up to 400 million people a year in regions near the tropics. So some researchers are trying to defeat dengue from inside the mosquito that has just drunk infected blood. The goal is to keep the virus from spreading to the insect’s saliva, where it can be injected into the next person bitten. Read more at Science Mag…
So the way this works is, as soon as a mosquito takes in blood, the immunized mosquito’s antibody activates and blocks the virus from multiplying and spreading so that when the mosquito bites a human next, it can’t transmit the virus.
While combating Dengue is necessary and a bold step, how about the implications for people who live in areas where Dengue isn’t common?
“This breakthrough work also has the potential to have broader impacts on controlling other mosquito-transmitted viruses,” says study co-author, Omar Akbari, associate professor at the University of California San Diego Associate. “We are already in the early stages of testing methods to simultaneously neutralize mosquitoes against dengue and a suite of other viruses such as Zika, yellow fever and chikungunya.” Read more at New Atlas…
These results may translate to the development of antibodies against other diseases carried by mosquitos on the continental United States and other areas of the world.
As scientists continue to come up with ways to tackle mosquito-borne sicknesses, contact the crew at Backyard Bug Patrol to eliminate mosquitos from your yard and check out our blog for more tips for keeping them at bay.
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