Insects unable to transmit viruses halted disease in Australian city – now scientists hope same technique could help tackle Zika and malaria

The first large-scale deployment of mosquitoes infected with Wolbachia bacteria, which makes them unable to transmit viruses, has stopped all outbreaks of dengue fever in a city in northern Australia for the last four years.

The success of the project in Townsville, Queensland, will encourage hopes that Wolbachia can provide a knockout blow against the Zika virus in Brazil as well, where the mosquitoes have been introduced into the favelas of Rio de Janeiro. Until now, the technology has looked promising but has only been tried in small pilot projects around the world of 1 to 1.5 square km.

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Read More Dengue fever outbreak halted by release of special mosquitoes

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