Mérida, Yucatán — Can the state’s own university system become a hero in the fight against dengue, zika and chikungunya?
Rather than resort to chemical sprays, UADY’s novel project attacks a mosquito’s ability to reproduce.
The director of UADY’s Dr. Hideyo Noguchi Center for Regional Research, Jorge Eduardo Zavala Castro, is working in coordination with the Yucatán Science and Technology Park and UADY’s Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Zootechnics.
“We are initiating a very important work to generate sterile mosquitoes that can serve in the biological combat of those who transmit dengue, zika and chikungunya,” said Zavala Castro, in a Spanish-language newspaper interview.
Male mosquitoes are infected with the Wolbachia bacteria and when released into the wild, they mate with females that are then rendered sterile.
Zavala Castro added that this model was created at Michigan State University, which has a $1 million grant to create a “mosquito mill” in the jungle.
The United States Agency for International Development grant was awarded to replicate a Chinese facility that has been successful in controlling the mosquito population. The plan has also worked well in Australia and the Philippines.
Yucatán is the first state in Mexico to carry out such a plan.