Jakarta, CNBC Indonesia – previously claimed to have been proven effective after trials in Yogyakarta.
The mosquitoes bred by Bill Gates from the United States (US) were carried out in a two-story brick building in Medellín, Colombia. Scientists worked for hours in a damp laboratory to breed millions of mosquitoes.
The Microsoft boss said that in the process, scientists meet the insects’ every need as they grow from larvae to adult pupae, keeping the temperature just right and providing them with plenty of fish food, sugar and, of course, blood.
Then the team released them across the country to breed with wild mosquitoes that can carry dengue fever and other viruses that threaten to sicken and kill Colombia’s population.
Through his official blog, Gates said that the mosquitoes were not released to terrorize local residents. But mosquitoes actually help save millions of lives.
“I have written before about these amazing Wolbachia mosquitoes, including last year when a new study showed how effective they are in preventing disease,” quoted CNN Indonesia, Sunday (19/11/2023).
It was explained that the mosquito livestock produced in this factory carry a bacteria called Wolbachia which prevents them from transmitting dengue fever and other viruses, such as Zika, chikungunya and yellow fever to humans.
By releasing them to breed with wild mosquitoes, the Wolbachia spread the bacteria to reduce transmission of the virus and protect millions of people from disease.
“A randomized controlled trial in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, found that Wolbachia-carrying mosquitoes reduced dengue cases in that city by 77 percent and dengue fever inpatients by 86 percent,” wrote Gates again.
In a new study in Medellín, cases of dengue fever have fallen by 89 percent since Wolbachia mosquitoes began being released in 2015. These results are a major breakthrough, offering proof this new technology will protect entire cities and countries from the threat of mosquito-borne diseases.
The World Mosquito Program which is leading the Wolbachia effort is now releasing these mosquitoes in 11 countries namely Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Australia, Fiji, Kiribati, New Caledonia and Vanuatu.
Then once enough Wolbachia mosquitoes are released to offer disease protection, it’s a self-sustaining solution.
The World Mosquito Program aims to spread Wolbachia among the Aedes aegypti mosquito, a tropical mosquito that hosts dengue fever, yellow fever, and other viruses. (Malaria is spread via parasites carried by Anopheles mosquitoes and is not the focus of Wolbachia efforts).
With climate change, there is urgency to the work of the World Mosquito Program. As global temperatures rise, the Aedes aegypti mosquito finds more areas of the world habitable, increasing the spread of disease. The greatest risk is posed by dengue fever, which infects more than 400 million people every year and kills 20,000.
“Demand for these life-saving mosquitoes continues to grow and that means the World Mosquito Program needs to produce hundreds of millions of Wolbachia mosquitoes,” said Gates.
These mosquitoes will be released to mate with wild mosquito populations, spreading Wolbachia bacteria which are said to prevent the transmission of dengue fever and other diseases carried by mosquitoes to humans.
So far, killing or repelling mosquitoes with insecticides, mosquito nets and traps is still a priority, not mass producing them.
So, the main purpose of the mosquito factory in Medellin is to breed colonies of Wolbachia mosquitoes which will become the parent population of Wolbachia mosquito offspring in the future.
The offspring of the parents are then raised to create millions of eggs, which hatch when placed in water and become larvae.
Then the larvae are fed fish meal, the larvae grow into pupae, which then become adults. To thrive, adult individuals need sugar and blood, which the team took from expired stock at the blood bank.
Once the factory has bred millions of eggs and adult mosquitoes, they are ready to be released. The eggs are packaged in small gelatin capsules, each containing 300 eggs, which are given to residents to incubate in water to hatch.
The advantage of releasing eggs like this is that the eggs can be easily transported long distances and can be hatched as needed.
It is interesting to see how far the World Mosquito Program has come. Years ago, the idea of releasing mosquitoes as allies in the fight against disease struck many as crazy. But support for this innovative solution has been received by communities around the world. These amazing mosquitoes fly and save lives.
Meanwhile, citing the official World Mosquito Program website, development of the program began in January 2014, namely with the release of Wolbachia-carrying mosquitoes in communities around Yogyakarta.
The goal of these releases is to establish Wolbachia in local mosquito populations, with the long-term goal of reducing transmission of mosquito-borne diseases.
Mosquito releases began after two years of engagement with the community and approval by the provincial government.
Bill Gates Has 6 Horrifying Predictions About the Fate of Mankind