Mosquito army won't kill zika, says specialist

'Modified mosquito army is a major breakthrough, but won't eradicate zika', says bite prevention specialist

Mosquitos will be infected with a bug named wolbachia

Thursday, October 27, 2016

An army of modified mosquitos which will be released in Brazil and Colombia is a major breakthrough in the fight against the zika virus, but it won't eradicate the disease, according to a bite specialist.

Scientists are planning on releasing an army of modified mosquitos into the South American countries. They have been infected with a bug named wolbachia, which should decrease their ability to spread zika and dengue fever to humans.

The project, funded by international donors including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, has cost $18 million (£14.7 million).

Bite prevention specialist Howard Carter told Julia Hartley-Brewer that this will be a major breakthrough - albeit after a lot of trials - and may well lead to a reduction of the disease.

But Carded added "we must be clear that it won't eradicate zika, dengue fever and cikungunya."

He added that the best way for people to protect themselves is still quality insect repellant, which athletes at the Olympics used. There hasn’t been "a discernible increase" in cases from the Olympics yet, but it is still too early to know for sure.

Listen to the full interview above