Scientists want to release 20 million male mosquitoes here

Scientists want to release 20 million male mosquitoes here

Scientists want to release 20 million male mosquitoes here

The Debug Project will be the biggest USA study to set free mosquitoes infected with Wolbachia, a common reproductive parasite. Verily's plan, called the Debug Project, hopes to now wipe out this potential Zika-carrying mosquito population to prevent further infections. In collaboration with MosquitoMate and Fresno County's Consolidated Mosquito Abatement District (CMAD), the trial, starting now, aims to test methods to reduce the population of the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which carries diseases including Zika, dengue, and chikungunya. Male mosquitoes don't bite so spreading them is a bonus.

Here's what Verily is planning to do - Verily's male mosquitos that are infected with the Wolbachia bacteria (that is harmless to humans) will infect female mosquitos and make their eggs incapable of producing offspring.

To measure our outcomes, we will compare the adult population density and egg hatching of Aedes aegypti in these targeted areas to two control neighborhoods.

Over time, the team hopes to see a dramatic reduction in Aedes aegypti. Debug's advanced software and monitoring technology will allow the project to have a more meaningful impact on the community. Organisations like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have been working on the bugs for more than a decade, running pilot projects in countries including Indonesia and Brazil.

Mosquito Mate, a local insect control company in Kentucky, previously made their own small field studies in Los Angeles and Fresno area.

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With the help of scientists, engineers, and Verily's global partners, the Debug Project aims to propagate bacteria-infected mosquitoes in hopes of eventually minimizing, if not completely eradicating, the population of disease-carrying mosquitoes.

Verily's mosquitoes aren't genetically modified.

The male mosquitoes will be released over 20 weeks in two neighborhoods of about 300 acres each using an automated device, also built by Verily.

Will infecting mosquitoes with a bacteria can put an end to humankind's fight against deadly viruses?

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