Brasilia – The goal sounds easier than it is: Breed genetically modified mosquitoes that would actually cut down mosquito populations.
Brazilian authorities inaugurated Saturday a breeder for a genetically modified type of aedes aegypti mosquito in hopes of finding a more effective way to combat dengue, of which 431,194 cases have been registered this year nationwide.
The so-called "mosquito factory" was built at a cost of 1.7 million reais ($850,000) and financed by the government of Bahia state with the help of the Health Ministry.
According to health officials, mosquitoes bred in such an installation receive injections of different viruses, which are transmitted in the instant of reproduction and kill the larvae before they are born, which means the number of mosquitoes tends to diminish.
The process has been tested successfully in the small city of Juazeiro in central Bahia state, where the number of aedes aegypti mosquitoes dropped by 90 percent in six months, according to official estimates.
The laboratory inaugurated Saturday will breed 4 million mosquitoes a year, which the authorities plan to let loose in the future in a medium-sized city in order to test the real impact of the experiment based on techniques already tried out by English scientists. EFE