Researchers Alter Mosquitoes to Resist Dengue Infection

aedes aegypti mosquito
aedes aegypti mosquitoAedes aegypti mosquito, which may carry the Zika virus or dengue fever. Photo courtesy CDC.

THURSDAY, Jan. 16, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Mosquitoes that can't be infected by or spread dengue virus have been created by scientists.

The researchers genetically engineered the mosquitoes to be resistant to all four types of dengue, a mosquito-borne virus that's a significant global health threat.

This is the first time that mosquitoes have been genetically engineered to be resistant to all types of dengue, which could significantly improve control of the disease, the scientists added.

The team reported that it may be possible to create wild populations with such genetically modified mosquitoes that would be completely resistant to dengue.

The findings were published online Jan. 16 in the journal PLOS Pathogens.

"The most important aspect of this study is the fact that we engineered mosquitoes to be refractory to all major serotypes of dengue virus. This may serve as a genetic tool to control dengue in the wild in the future," researcher Omar Akbari, from the University of California, San Diego, said in a journal news release.

According to the World Health Organization, the global incidence of dengue has grown dramatically in recent decades. About half of the world's population is now at risk. There are an estimated 390 million infections each year.

More information

The World Health Organization has more on dengue.

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