Scientists discover a method to protect humans from dengue | Sunday Observer

Scientists discover a method to protect humans from dengue

1 August, 2021

Dengue fever is a severe illness spread by mosquitoes. Dengue fever can be fatal in severe cases. Scientists appear to have discovered a way to limit the spread of dengue by infecting mosquitos with the Wolbachia germ. Dengue fev’er is a serious disease that affects people in over 120 countries.

It can result in high fevers, headaches, and excruciating pain. Dengue fever is also known as ‘break-bone fever’. because of the great pain that patients can feel in their joints. Dengue fever is caused by a virus that is spread by mosquito bites, specifically the Aedes aegypti mosquito. As a result, dengue is more common in warm, tropical areas where mosquitoes are difficult to control. Dengue affects approximately 390 million people each year, with as many as 25,000 people dying as a result.

Scientists appear to have discovered a method to protect humans from dengue by first protecting mosquitos. A virus causes dengue fever. Though it may seem strange to think of it this way, the mosquitos spread the dengue virus are infected with it as well. However, the virus does not appear to harm the mosquitos. Wolbachia pipientis is a type of bacteria – a tiny germ found in many insects. Wolbachia can prevent some viruses from replicating themselves in some insects. Viruses grow inside the body by replicating themselves. Wolbachia is not found naturally in Aedes aegypti mosquitos. Scientists can prevent mosquitos from becoming infected with the dengue virus by infecting them with the Wolbachia bacteria. Even better, because the young mosquitoes that hatch from the eggs of infected mosquitoes carry Wolbachia, they do not contract dengue.

According to some studies, releasing Wolbachia-treated mosquitos may help to reduce the spread of dengue in humans. Scientists have now completed an experiment demonstrating that this method works in preventing large numbers of humans from contracting dengue fever.

Compiled by Mandira Wijeratne