Virus-blocking Wolbachia may make dengue history
Washington, Apr 9 : A team of researchers is plotting the elimination of dengue.Cameron Simmons from the University of Melbourne said that the discovery could lead to improved strategies to reduce the incidence of dengue.
Simmons noted that they did a "real world" experiment and allowed mosquitoes infected with Wolbachia and uninfected mosquitoes to feed on the blood of Vietnamese dengue patients, adding that their team then measured how efficiently Wolbachia blocked dengue virus infection of the mosquito body and saliva, which in turn steps stops them spreading the virus between humans.
Researchers developed a mathematical model of dengue virus transmission and used the experimental results as a basis to predict how well Wolbachia would reduce the intensity of dengue transmission under a variety of scenarios.
They found that Wolbachia could eliminate dengue transmission in locations where the intensity of transmission is low or moderate and in high transmission settings, Wolbachia would also cause a significant reduction in transmission.
The findings are important because they provide realistic measures of the ability of Wolbachia to block transmission of the dengue virus and provide precise projections of its impact on dengue infections, added Simmons.
Wolbachia has been recently introduced into Cairns and Townsville and the results of this study suggest future dengue outbreaks in these cities should be much less severe than in the past.
Simmons said that the results will enable policy makers in dengue-affected countries to make informed decisions on Wolbachia when allocating scarce resources to dengue control.
The study is published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.