Jakarta, CNBC Indonesia – Billionaire Bill Gates is known to be breeding ‘imitation’ mosquitoes in Colombia. The development of Wolbachia is said to save human lives.
“I’ve written before about these amazing Wolbachia mosquitoes, including last year when a new study showed how effective they are in preventing disease,” Gates said on his official blog.
Wolbachia breeding is carried out in buildings in Medellin, Colombia. The researchers worked to meet the animals’ needs from larvae to adult pupae, keeping the temperature just right and providing the fish with plenty of food, sugar and blood.
Next, the team of scientists will release the mosquitoes throughout the country. Later they will breed with wild mosquitoes that carry dengue fever and other viruses.
It is hoped that the mosquito farming will prevent the transmission of dengue fever mosquitoes and other viruses such as Zika, chikungunya and yellow fever to humans.
In Medellin, Wolbachia mosquitoes have been released since 2015. A new study report there says dengue fever has decreased 89% since the mosquitoes were released.
The World Mosquito Program, a leader in Wolbachia efforts, has released mosquitoes in 11 countries. Starting from Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Australia, Fiji, Kiribati, New Caledonia and Vanuatu.
In Indonesia, a randomized trial was carried out in Yogyakarta. Gates wrote that dengue cases were reduced by 77 percent due to the spread of these mosquitoes.
Photo: Illustration of a Mosquito (Image by mika mamy from Pixabay)
Mosquito Illustration (Image by mika mamy from Pixabay)
“A randomized controlled trial in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, found that Wolbachia-carrying mosquitoes reduced dengue cases in that city by 77 percent and dengue fever inpatients by 86 percent,” wrote Gates again.
The climate change that is occurring also increases the urgency of the program’s work. The reason is that the Aedes aegypti mosquito is more abundant in habitable areas due to increasing global temperatures.
“Demand for these life-saving mosquitoes continues to grow and that means the World Mosquito Program needs to produce hundreds of millions of Wolbachia mosquitoes,” said Gates.
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