anopheles-mosquito-malariaIntegrated DNA Technologies (IDT), is donating reagents to Eliminate Dengue Brazil to help combat the spread of Zika virus (ZIKV) in Brazil. The Eliminate Dengue Programme is an international, non-profit research collaboration led by Prof Scott O’Neill of Monash University, Australia. The team is developing a natural method to control mosquito-transmitted diseases, including dengue, Zika and chikungunya.

The Brazil project team, led by Dr Luciano Moreira (FIOCRUZ/Centro de Pesquisas René Rachou, Brazil), is applying the method towards controlling the spread of ZIKV. The researchers infect the mosquitoes with naturally occurring bacteria, called Wolbachia, that reduce the ability of the mosquitoes to transmit the disease-causing virus to humans.

Wolbachia occurs naturally in up to 60% of all insect species and is passed to new generations during reproduction. Dr Moreira notes: “One of the most important features of our project is how sustainable it is. After we release Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes into an area during the period of a few months, they increase and maintain their prevalence naturally without us having to continually release more mosquitoes.”

Dr Moreira’s team uses IDT’s ZEN Double-Quenched Probes to monitor the persistence of viruses within the mosquito population. Their recent research in Brazil shows that by dispersing Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes, they can significantly reduce risk of transmission of ZIKV and dengue virus. Now IDT is donating reagents to Eliminate Dengue Brazil so that additional research can be completed quickly and efficiently.

Dr Joseph A Walder, IDT founder and Chief Executive Officer, said: “IDT is committed to sponsoring innovative research that drives medical, agricultural and environmental advances. We are proud to be able to support the work being done by Eliminate Dengue Brazil to reduce Zika virus transmission. This is an important global issue being addressed using a natural, sustainable and safe method.”

For more details on Dr Moreira’s research on ZIKV, read IDT’s DECODED newsletter article: Dengue, Zika transmission slowed by Wolbachia bacterium.