20 million mosquitoes to invade California in bug fight

17 July, 2017, 16:12 | Author: Eloise Marshall
  • Automated larval rearing system at Verily

The study would be conducted by Consolidated Mosquito Abatement District, MosquitoMate, and Verily, and this video is meant to inform residents of the possible activities of this study.

The same program is now in effect in the Florida Keys, where officials are bringing in 40,000 mosquitoes a week from Kentucky - each infected with the Wolbachia bacteria as well - to fight the population. The target is Aedes aegypti, a breed of the bug that transmit viruses such as Zika and Dengue fever, which has infected more than 3,000 people in California over the past three years.

Verily, the life sciences division of Google's parent company Alphabet has begun releasing bacteria infected male mosquitos in Fresno, California. They aren't genetically engineered-rather, Verily (in collaboration with MosquitoMate and Fresno County) cooked up a project to infect the bugs with the Wolbachia bacteria.

According to Steve Mulligan, district manager of the Consolidated Mosquito Abatement District, the minimum ratio of seven Wolbachia mosquitoes to one wild male mosquito is needed to control the population, which includes the parts of Fresno in this project.

Verily has not revealed how much Debug Project is going to cost, but Linus Upson, the Debug Project member, revealed that Verily has planned to do something similar in Australia after Fresno.

In addition, on-the-ground release devices also allow the mosquitos to be released in an "even and targeted way" during the breeding season.

But don't worry, they don't bite.

Once the release has been accomplished, the Verily team will compare the adult population and egg hatching rates in the trial areas to two control neighborhoods.

The study will take place over a 20-week period. Over time, we hope to see a steep decline in the presence of Aedes aegypti in these communities.

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