Google Is Releasing 20 Million Bacteria-Infected Mosquitoes in Fresno


Google's parent company Alphabet's life science unit - Verily, has come up with a plan to release 20 million lab-modified, bacteria-infected mosquitos upon Fresno, California to combat Zika-carrying Aedes aegypti mosquitos. The Fresno project will be the biggest U.S. release of sterile mosquitoes to date, Verily says.

It is an effective vector for carrying diseases like dengue fever, Zika and chikungunya. And these bugs have been treated with a specific kind of bacteria, Wolbachia, that makes them sterile.

A giant technology company is releasing up to 20 million bacteria-filled, buzzing mosquitoes this summer in Fresno, California.

To measure our outcomes, we will compare the adult population density and egg hatching of Aedes aegypti in these targeted areas to two control neighborhoods. People involved in the project are hoping that the experiment will result in a steep decline in the presence of the mosquitoes in the said areas. Debug's advanced software and monitoring technology will allow the project to have a more meaningful impact on the community. The company's bug-releasing van will start traveling the streets of Fancher Creek, a neighborhood in Fresno County, on Friday. The said project cost $16 million United States dollars and was supposed to cover Medellín, Colombia's three million people.

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Verily isn't the first to use Wolbachia mosquitoes for disease control. The mosquitoes were tested in Australia, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Rio de Janeiro as part of a dengue-eradication program which Gates' funded with $40 million Dollars. Not likely. This particular mosquito species entered the area in 2013. But, by collaborating with Verily, the study is now 25 times more than they did before.

An automated mosquito mass rearing process has been developed at Verily.

With the help of scientists, engineers, and Verily's worldwide partners, the Debug Project aims to propagate bacteria-infected mosquitoes in hopes of eventually minimizing, if not completely eradicating, the population of disease-carrying mosquitoes.