ICMR to Battle Dengue and Chikungunya with a Bacteria

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) is working a new way to tackle dengue and chikungunya with the bacteria- Wolbachia.

How does this work?

Under the initiative, the ICMR has developed mosquito variant with carrying Wolbachia bacteria. The Wolbachia bacteria inhibit viral infection since the bacteria does not allow the virus to replicate in the mosquito and so, the virus won’t be transmitted through a bite.

Puducherry Strain

  • The eggs of a mosquito carrying Wolbachia bacteria were brought to Vector Control Research Centre (VCRC) in Puducherry. The mosquitoes were developed at the VCRC Puducherry in collaboration with Monash University in Australia. Hence the mosquito variant has been named the Puducherry strain.
  • These eggs hatched and then mated with Indian mosquitoes. The process is called backcrossing and it has been done 12 times. The mosquitoes which are now being reared at the laboratory and will soon be released for field trials.
  • Through the population replacement strategy, ICMR aims to replace the mosquitoes in India with those carrying Wolbachia bacteria.

Through the backcrossing and population replacement strategy the ICMR aims to reduce the number of dengue and chikungunya cases.

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