Dengue fever may be eradicated in Indonesia by Australian-led team

13-Aug-2018 Intellasia | ABC | 6:02 AM Print This Post

An Australian-led project in Indonesia is showing early signs of success in eradicating one of the world’s most debilitating viruses dengue fever.

Transmitted by the Aedes Aegypti mosquito, dengue fever is active in more than 100 countries worldwide, infecting 400 million people every year and killing 25,000.

But scientists from the Eliminate Dengue Fever programme in Indonesia believe the virus may have met its match.

“Confident? Of course I’m confident, because the potential of this project is massive,” entomologist Warsito Tantowijoyo said.

With technology exported from Melbourne’s Monash University, mosquitos in Yogyakarta have been infected with a bacteria called Wolbachia, which renders the insects incapable of carrying and transmitting dengue fever.

So far the Yogyakarta team has released 6 million Wolbachia-infected mosquitos, effectively breeding the disease carrying population out of existence.

The team are now gathering the results of the trial.

“We can’t say that it will eliminate all cases of dengue. But we expect this technology will significantly contribute to the reduction of dengue cases.”

Monash University is the research and development hub of the programme and leads the research team.

“All of the evidence is pointing towards success,” said Professor Cameron Simmons, director of Impact Assessment at the World Mosquito Programme.

The most common methods of controlling dengue fever, such as fumigation, are only temporary and vaccines are considered too expensive in developing countries, where the virus is most prevalent.

The advantage of the Wolbachia bacteria is that, once established in the mosquito population, it’s a permanent fix.

“This is a once-and-done application that provides potentially years or even decades of public health protection to that community,” Professor Simmons said.

It is also effective against several other deadly mosquito borne diseases, like zika and chikungunya.

“[The trial is] really going to deliver, we hope, the gold standard evidence that [proves] we have a major public health intervention to control these terrible diseases,” he said.

The bacteria is now being trialled in 11 other countries, with many more expressing interest.

“The demand is large. We are continually being approached by disease affected countries… our challenge is to keep up with that demand,” he said.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-08-11/dengue-fever-eradication-in-indonesia/10045474

 


Category: Indonesia

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