Researchers at the University of Texas in Austin have developed an algae that could be effective in controlling the mosquito population. The anti-mosquito bio-weapon could be effective in reducing the spread of the Zika virus.
The research team headed by UT Professor David Herrin resulted in the development of several synthetic genes that produce proteins which are capable of killing mosquitoes, according to KVUE’s Brandon Jones. “This could stop Zika, West Nile, and other viruses,” Herrin told the Austin news outlet.
Breitbart Texas has reported extensively on the presence of the Zika virus in Texas and across the U.S. A pediatric infectious disease doctor told reporters in February that mosquitoes could possibly catch the Zika virus from humans who became infected with the disease elsewhere and spread the virus to others.
“As we head towards springtime, if we have a lot of people infected with Zika, either because they are imported cases or sexually acquired cases, that may trigger the mosquitoes to get infected with the virus and start that transmission cycle,” Dr. Jeffrey Kahn, chief of pediatric infectious diseases for the University of Texas Children’s Medical Center in Dallas, said during a NBCDFW interview. And, once that occurs, it’s almost impossible to get the virus out of the population.”
KVUE reported on the new development for controlling mosquitoes:
The algae attacks the mosquito’s digestive tract and it works fairly fast, with the mosquitoes dying within 24-48 hours. Herrin said it’s effective against most mosquito species in the U.S.
“The more algae it eats, the better it is, and the faster it’s going to die,” Herrin said.
So far, Herrin said the mosquitoes will not develop a resistance to this algae, however that could change. Herrin said his team were awarded a $52 million grant for infectious disease research by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
The professor told KVUE his team needs more money to complete a different variation of the gene that could be effective against more species of mosquitoes.