In battle against spread of chikungunya and dengue, ICMR finds unlikely ally — bacteria

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  1. Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has developed a strain of the Aedes aegypti mosquito into which Wolbachia, a naturally occurring bacteria, is introduced.
  2. The mosquito variant has been named the Puducherry strain. It was developed by ICMR in collaboration with World Mosquito Program of Monash University, Australia.
  3. Wolbachia bacteria is introduced into male and female Aedes aegypti mosquitoes in the laboratory and released into the wild. Once Wolbachia carrying mosquitoes are released, they breed with wild mosquitoes.
  4. Over time, the majority of mosquitoes carry Wolbachia. These mosquitoes have a reduced ability to transmit viruses to people. Thus, it reduces the risk of Zika, dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever outbreaks.
  5. Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are the primary vector that transmit the Zika, dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever viruses.