The experiment uses other insects to sterilize and slow the growth of this problem in China.
The combination of two techniques for controlling tiger mosquitoes has been effective in almost completely eliminating these Aedes Aegypti-bearing diseases such as dengue and chikungunya, a study conducted in two places in China, the results of which were published on Wednesday.
Researchers polluted female mosquitoes to sterilize and infect male males with bacteria that prevented them from breeding with uninfected females, they explain in the journal Nature.
This experiment represents an "important step forward and demonstrates the potential of this new tool," said Peter Armbuster, a biology professor at Georgetown University in the US, in a commentary on the study.
The team of researchers, led by Zhiyong Xi, from the University of Michigan (USA) and Sun Yat-sen University in Canton (China), conducted their experiment for two years on two islands located in rivers near this city. southern China.
The region has one of the highest dengue levels in the country.
As a result, the average number of women – those who bite people and therefore pose a threat of transmission of the virus they carry – fell between 83% and 94%, and they increased up to six weeks without being captured. to each copy.
And the number of stings reported by residents of the area decreased by 97%.
The Aedes aegypti mosquito, or tiger mosquito, is the main vector of dengue, the Zica virus, the chikungunya and the yellow fever. She is responsible for infecting millions of people around the world every year.
The measures that are commonly used to control its spread and the epidemics it transmits (repellents, mosquito nets) reach their limits because of the adaptability of this species, which develops mainly in urban areas and has a snack during the day.