Brazil and Colombia Unleash Transgenic Mosquitos to Fight Zika

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In Brazil, 1.5 million people have been infected by Zika.

An army of millions of genetically modified mosquitoes will be released in areas of Brazil and Colombia to cope with mosquito-borne diseases such as Zika and chikungunya.

The insects are infected with a bug called Wolbachia which reduces their ability to spread viruses to people. The mosquitoes will mate with the local insects and spread throughout wild populations.

The project is funded by an international team of donors with an investment of $18 million usd.

A total of 46 countries have reported some level of evidence of Zika infections and up to 130 countries are home to the Aedes aegypti mosquito that carries the virus, meaning the eventual spread could be enormous.

In Brazil alone, 1.5 million people have been infected by Zika with over 3,500 cases of microcephaly reported between October 2015 and January 2016, according to the World Health Organization.

Much remains unknown about Zika, however infection during pregnancy could result in microcephaly and other brain malformations in babies.

There is no known vaccine for Zika and there have been no confirmed deaths associated with the virus so far.

Article Credit: Telesur