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Location:Home>Fighting Mosquitoes with Mosquitoes>How it works
  • How mosquitoes spread disease
    According to the World Health Organization, vector-borne diseases account for more than 17% of all infectious diseases, causing more than 700,000 deaths annually. Most of the deaths are caused by mosquito-transmitted pathogens, including parasites and arboviruses, which cause diseases such as malaria, filariasis, dengue, Zika, Yellow Fever, West Nile and Japanese Encephalitis. Mosquitoes acquire the virus by taking blood from infected people. When they bite again, they can transmit the virus to the next person, through which mosquito borne diseases spread. Thus:
    - Mosquitoes don't naturally carry the virus, they can only get it from infected people.
    - Since only female mosquitoes bite, only female mosquitoes can spread the virus.
  • Dengue fever
    Dengue is a viral infection transmitted to humans through the bite of infected mosquitoes, including Aedes aegypti and Ae. albopictus. According to WHO, dengue fever is now considered the world's most serious and fastest spread mosquito borne viral disease, and the global incidence rate has increased 30 times in the past 50 years, with about half of the world's population at risk. Severe dengue, including dengue haemorrhagic fever and dengue shock syndrome, is a leading cause of serious illness and death in endemic areas. There is no specific treatment for dengue and a new vaccine is approved for use only in individuals with previous dengue infection and living in endemic areas. Dengue prevention and control primarily depends on effective vector control and traditional approaches relying on chemical insecticides and environmental management are not sufficient and sustainable for disease control. During the last decade, Wolbachia-based vector control has become one of the most promising novel approaches for dengue control.
  • What is Wolbachia
    As one of the most widespread insect endosymbionts in nature, Wolbachia is estimated to infect more than half of all arthropod species including insects (but can not infect human and other vertebrate animals). It is maternally transmitted from mother to offspring and is well known for exhibiting a phenotype called cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI), in which embryonic death occurs when infected males mate with either uninfected females or infected females carrying different type of Wolbachia. Some Wolbachia strains can also induce pathogen blocking in mosquitoes. Based on CI and pathogen blocking, Wolbachia is developed as a tool for disease control. However, it relies on the ability to both generate a novel Wolbachia infection (or transinfection) in the target mosquito species and mass produce the transinfected mosquitoes at the scale required by the target region, two areas in which Wolbaki currently leads the world.
  • How our Wolbachia method works
    Wolbachia can be developed as a tool for disease control by population suppression to reduce mosquito biting through release of incompatible males, population replacement to reduce mosquito capacity to transmit pathogen by release of both female and males, or a hybrid technology to combine the above two approaches.
  • Fighting Mosquitoes with Mosquitoes
    A new Wolbachia-infected Aedes albopictus strain, which induces incompatible mating with wild type females, has been developed by Wolbaki Co,. Ltd. Through continuous release of Wolbachia-infected males (males cannot bite and transmit diseases) into the field in China, mosquito population is suppressed or even eliminated, thus preventing the spread of dengue. This is commonly known as "Fighting Mosquitoes with Mosquitoes" technology.
  • How we release Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes
    In 2013, the first male Aedes albopictus carrying a new Wolbachia produced by Wolbaki's "Fighting Mosquitoes with Mosquitoes" technology was officially released. So far, we have released it in more than 30 regions in China. Before releasing any mosquitoes, we always work with the approval of government health departments, relevant agencies and community organizations in areas affected by mosquito borne diseases. We publicize our "Fighting Mosquitoes with Mosquitoes" method through popular science activities, television broadcasting, social media and other channels. Once the cooperation with the project party is determined, we will conduct investigation and community education on the project to ensure that the project is supported and understood. After completing the key area division and control and mosquito density monitoring in the target area, we will cultivate and sterilize mosquitoes carrying Wolbachia. During the cooperation period, we will release them twice a week and continue to release them to achieve the effect of mosquito control.
  • Our method is unique and effective
    Wolbaki's "Fighting Mosquitoes with Mosquitoes" technology is a green, safe and effective mosquito control method. This technology does not involve genetic transformation because the genetic material of mosquitoes has not been changed. In 2019, the latest research published in nature by Wolbaki's research team showed that the cytoplasmic incompatibility Technology (IIT) based on symbiotic Wolbachia combined with radiation-based insect sterility Technology (SIT) can successfully suppress and eliminate the wild Aedes albopictus population.
  • Is it safe
    Since the research of "Fighting Mosquitoes with Mosquitoes" technology of Wolbaki Co,. Ltd. started in 2005, there has been no risk report, including the release of male Aedes albopictus carrying new Wolbachia, and no relevant risk has been found. Our technology has obtained the regulatory approval of relevant government agencies and the strong support of residents in the release area. The risk assessments found that Wolbachia is safe for people, animals and the environment. In March 2017, the World Health Organization officially recognized the safety, effectiveness, stability and long-term effectiveness of Wolbachia in the control of Aedes albopictus and Aedes aegypti, and strongly recommended the use of the technology of the project for more field application research in countries around the world.
Working principle
  • step1Line establinment
    Wolbachia was transferred into the reproductive system of an early insect embryo through microinjection, making Wolbachia could be inherited maternally after forming symbiosis with its host.
  • step2Mass rearing
    Wolbaki has built the world’s largest mosquito factory, reaching at a capacity of producing 60 million male mosquitoes per week.
  • step3Field release
    Releases of Sterile Males in target area
  • step4Sterile male mosquitoes mate with wild females
    The released male sterile mosquitoes mate with wild female mosquitoes
  • step5CI happening
    The eggs laid by female mosquitoes do not hatch
  • step6Population decrease
    Releases of Wolbachia-infected males capable of inducing CI when they copulate with the uninfected females or females carried with a different Wolbachia strain, resulting in invalid offspring.
Wolbachia mosquitoes released area of China
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