Meet Wolbachia – the bacteria that could rid the world of dengue
Dengue is one of the world’s most devastating infectious diseases. Around half of the entire planet’s population is at risk from dengue infection, which can lead to excruciating joint pain, haemorrhaging and, eventually, death.
There is no vaccine for dengue, so current efforts to stop its spread involve trying to control the mosquito that transmits it, Aedes aegypti. But this is by no means easy – Aedes aeygpti is notoriously resilient and extremely well adapted to urban environments.
Which is why scientists in Australia are currently testing a new method of preventing
dengue that could be revolutionary – using a strange group of bacteria called Wolbachia.
We spoke to Professor Scott O’Neill, leader of the Eliminate Dengue programme, to find out more.
Special thanks to Karl Yates who produced
the music for this month’s episode. You can find him on SoundCloud.
Image credit: Penn State on Flickr under CC BY-NC 2.0