The Eliminate Dengue project is a continuation of research initiated under the FNIH’s Vector-based Control of Transmission: Discovery Research (VCTR) program, which is an extension of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's Grand Challenges in Global Health initiative. Dengue is a disabling and sometimes deadly viral infection that causes high fever, intense muscle pain and bleeding. It is carried by a specific type of mosquito, and poses a serious public health risk to more than 40 percent of the world’s population. The Eliminate Dengue project aims to develop a self-sustaining biocontrol method to stop transmission of dengue virus by mosquitoes. The research uses a common bacterium, Wolbachia, to inhibit replication of the dengue virus in mosquitoes thus interrupting the transmission of dengue virus to humans. The Eliminate Dengue program responds to a global need for innovative approaches to prevent dengue transmission that are safe, easily deployed, effective and sustainable, to improve the health and well-being of the 2.5 billion people at risk of this infection.
In early 2016, the team discovered that the presence of Wolbachia bacteria in Aedes aegypti mosquitoes also inhibits replication of the Zika virus. Since then, the World Health Organization (WHO) held an emergency session of the Vector Control Advisory Committee on developing a response to the Zika epidemic. At the session, WHO recommended that the Eliminate Dengue program proceed with pilot deployment of its Wolbachia strategy to build capacity to support operational use.
The project team is planning pilot deployment activities in its current test sites at Medellin, Colombia and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The Pan American Health Organization has offered to provide technical support and assistance for the studies.
Scientific Reports (July 2016): The wMel strain of Wolbachia Reduces Transmission of Zika virus by Aedes aegypti
Forbes (May 2016): Smart Science Confirms Wolbachia's Value In Fighting Zika As Well As Dengue
CNN (March 2016): Stopping Zika: Attacking mosquitoes from within
Voice of America (February 2016): Infected Mosquitoes Enlisted to Stop Zika, Other Diseases
Forbes (February 2016): Smart Science: Wolbachia Bacteria Might Stop Zika and Dengue Viruses
Eliminate Dengue Program
Neglected Infectious Diseases
The Deadliest Animal in the World
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation