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University has tiger mosquito breakthrough

France 3/Scoop, Apr 25

Montpellier University are sterilising female tiger mosquitoes to prevent the spread of viruses.

Since 2011, the tiger mosquito has been present in Occitanie. This summer, it is projected that they will come back in force.

The Montpellier Research Institute explained how bacteria can sterilise mosquitoes, to prevent them from spreading viruses, such as dengue fever.

The female insect bites, and it can carry diseases such as dengue, Chikungunya, and also Zika, a virus that if transmitted to pregnant women, can be the cause of a severe malformation in infants, responsible for irreversible mental damage.

So in Montpellier, they are looking for solutions to stunt its proliferation and they may have found an answer. At the Montpellier Institute of Evolutionary Sciences, a team of researchers can explain how bacteria sterilises mosquitoes and prevents them from spreading viruses.

Scientists infect male mosquitoes in the laboratory with a bacterium "Wolbachia". Once released, these insects mate with the females and at the same time it sterilise them: the females will lay eggs that will never hatch.

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