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World News April 23, 2024

Scientists use gut bacteria to prevent mosquito-borne diseases

Chinese scientists have devised a natural method to combat mosquito-borne diseases by manipulating the gut microbes of mosquitoes, potentially offering an alternative to controversial genetically-modified mosquito experiments. Researchers from Tsinghua University and the Yunnan Academy of Animal Science and Veterinary Sciences discovered that mosquitoes from different habitats carry distinct gut bacteria, influencing their susceptibility to viruses like dengue and Zika. By colonizing mosquitoes with a specific bacterium called Rosenbergiella_YN46, they reduced the insects’ likelihood of transmitting these viruses. This bacterium produces an enzyme that acidifies mosquito intestines, neutralizing viruses. In field experiments, introducing Rosenbergiella_YN46 to mosquito breeding sites successfully established colonies of “good mosquitoes” resistant to virus transmission. The researchers also propose using plants enriched with these bacteria as an intervention strategy. These findings offer a promising biocontrol approach to reduce mosquito-borne virus transmission and prevalence in nature.

Source – CGTN
Photo Credit – Science

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