Me after reading the article: it's wolbachia.
We've been using these here in Singapore for a while now (looking at it since about 2016 ), and it's not like it was a secret , hell even the BBC has reported on wolbachia before (by the same James Gallagher!) , so it's a bit surprising that it is presented in this BBC article as something "miraculous" and new.
What's curious to me is that the information presented in the BBC articles is slightly different from what has been reported here in Singapore. The BBC articles say that the wolbachia infection is passed on. Our reporting has been that male mosquitos infected with wolbachia that mate with females will not produce viable eggs, but otherwise, infected females will pass the wolbachia infection on. I wonder what the details are.
Even lay people who know Wolbachia is promising will find the result interesting.
Also the “miraculous” in the headline comes from a a researcher who described Wolbachia as naturally miraculous. I’d say that makes it fair game for a headline writer.
The newer article should have mentioned that this technique has been trialled before and provided some context about why this trial is important, eg it was a 3 year RCT, and the evidence it presents is of a higher standard, etc. But that doesn’t detract from the fact that this result is useful and worth a new report — and in fact the “explore further” link on the page on the topic of Mosquitoes links to previous stories on the topic, including the story the previous commenter mentioned.
Science and health journalism (other than COVID) isn’t always as sexy as other areas of journalism, I think we should be a little wary of crying “clickbait” for everything. A victory over dengue is worth shouting about — it’s a nasty disease that causes a lot of suffering.
Very happy to hear this news. Selfishly, with a warming climate the impact of the virus is likely to spread, and generally the more tropical diseases we can wipe out the better.
One really minor nitpick, but I think it's different strains of dengue that get you: get infected by one, and you get resistance for that strain, but also become more susceptible to develop complications or die from a separate strain.
However, if you've never had dengue, the vaccine is not recommended since it increases the odds of complications.
This rather odd effect is known as antibody-dependent enhancement: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antibody-dependent_enhancement
I had dengue once and got vaccinated afterward, since I live in a dengue hotspot. However, not many do, the cost and complexity (~$300 for 3 shots over 18 months, generally not covered by insurance) also dissuades many.
> In 1970, only nine countries had faced severe dengue outbreaks, now there are up to 400 million infections a year.
It amazes me to think of how relatively small the team that worked on this was in relation to the outsized benefit to humanity.
The funny thing is that me and my roommate at the time just thought we had really bad achy flus. I think we probably should have gone to the hospital in retrospect.
Thorough history of mosquito control techniques and where we stand today, including some comparisons of pros / cons / applicability:
That said, eliminating Polio, etc. are examples of where things really worked out, so it can happen, YRMV.
Yes it can be a good outcome if the resistant ones are not pathogens but the thing is that you don’t know and probabilities are that the pathogens / total won’t change.
> It’s extremely safe. The EPA has done its due diligence and tested many of the potential side effects of this technology. The real question here is: What are the existing control mechanisms that are in place? This mosquito has been controlled using many different broad-spectrum insecticides in Florida, including pyrethroids that also kill honeybees, ladybugs, dragonflies and other insects. Pictures show aerial spraying of insecticides from airplanes over neighborhoods in Florida during the Zika virus outbreak in 2016. By comparison, Oxitec’s technology is extremely safe. It’s only going to target A. aegypti, and you’re using the mosquito to control the mosquito.
Wow, hell of a deflection. I am genuinely curious about the biotech company's perspective on the potential risks of what they're doing, and all they can say is that other methods have risks as well?
Both diseases are transmitted by mosquito bites. Malaria is a parasite while dengue is a virus. There seem to be twice as many dengue infection a year than malaria cases, but 10x more death from malaria than from dengue.
The fact that the « hack » transmits through generation is pretty amazing too
Earnest question: what's the bigger ecological change, infecting all these mosquitoes (can they spread it to other species? We've seen evidence of mosquitoes hybridizing in the wild), or just kill them outright?
However currently humanity is killing off a lot of insects without targeting a specific species, so potentially disturbing mosquito based ecosystems doesn't seem terrible in comparison.
The dengue virus is not nearly as important to local ecology, as far as I am aware. Theres such an extreme litany of viruses, most of which have no measurable impact on human existence, that the reduction or even elimination of one species (if that's the right term- pendants I apologise) should be without negative consequence.
is this a nice way of saying "the end result is more mosquitoes, but without dengue" ?
All the usual limiting factors are still there, so no, there won't be much more of them.
Except if these bacteria give some yet unknown benefits to this species of mosquitos.