Modified mosquitoes cut dengue cases by 77% in breakthrough trial

Published June 11, 2021, 2:54 PM

by Jaleen Ramos

Dengue cases were reduced by 77 percent in a groundbreaking trial that stopped mosquitoes from transmitting viruses, scientists said.

The World Mosquito Program, in partnership with Gadjah Mada University, conducted a randomized controlled trial (RCT) that aimed to measure the efficacy of the Wolbachia method in preventing dengue.

The trial, which took place in Yogyakarta city in Indonesia, used mosquitoes infected with bacteria called Wolbachia to reduce the ability of mosquitoes to spread viruses among people.

In the study by the New England Journal of Medicine, it was found that modified mosquitoes thrived for three years and cases of dengue were reduced by 77 percent in areas where they were introduced.

Meanwhile, dengue cases requiring hospitalization were reduced by 86 percent in the Wolbachia-treated areas.

The result has significant implications for 40 percent of the world’s population at risk of dengue, the study said.

The researchers said the objective of the study was to determine whether deployment of Wolbachia-carrying Aedes aegypti mosquitoes leads to a reduced incidence of dengue in treated areas compared to untreated areas.

In the Philippines, over 500 cases of dengue fever have been reported in General Santos City this year while two barangays in South Cotabato have been placed under a state of calamity due to the increasing cases of the deadly dengue fever.

Last year, the Department of Health (DOH) reported more than 59,000 cases of dengue fever.

The DOH also declared a national dengue epidemic in 2019 after more than 400,000 people were infected with over 1,000 deaths recorded.