The experiment successfully reduced the population of Asian tiger mosquitoes – the main source of bites and disease transmission – by up to 94%, and reduced the number of reported human bites by 97%.
It is not the first attempt by researchers to reduce mosquito populations around the world. In 2018, scientists from the Imperial College of London used gene-editing tools to sterilize female mosquitoes, while men developed normally and spread the genetic mutation.
One of the researchers in the Chinese study, Xi Zhiyong, a professor at Michigan State University, was a longtime pioneer in the field. He operated a mosquito factory in southern China and previously tried to mate with sterilized male mosquitoes unmodified female animals.
"We're building good mosquitoes that can help us fight the bad guys," Xi told CNN in 201
Xi and his colleagues have attempted to further reduce the number of mosquitoes by limiting the reproductive capacity of males and females in the new study published by the International Journal of Science.
Female mosquitoes were sterilized with low radiation exposure while the males were infected with the Wolbachia bacteria. Then both were released during the main breeding season 2016 and 2017 on two islands near Guangzhou.
The results were so successful that almost the entire female mosquito population on both islands was eradicated.
In a statement, the mosquito ecologist Peter Armbruster said the tria I was one of the most successful mosquito repellent attempts, as the mosquitoes stubbornly survived.
Experts said Asian tiger mosquitoes are particularly hard to eradicate using conventional methods of population control such as pesticides and removing stagnant water, where insects lay their eggs.
The white-striped mosquitoes were described as "highly invasive" and, according to the authors of the study, have spread from Asia to almost every continent in the last 40 years.
Mosquitoes pose a serious threat to human health beyond the irritation of stings. The World Health Organization (WHO) has described insects as "one of the deadliest animals in the world" because of their ability to rapidly spread deadly diseases such as dengue fever and malaria.
Guangzhou, a densely populated urban metropolis In a tropical climate, around 37,350 people experienced a dengue infection during an outbreak in 2014.
This month, the Philippines' health authorities issued a "national dengue warning" after more than 450 people were killed by the virus in the first half of the year 2019.
There is currently no effective vaccine or effective vaccine Treatment for most mosquito-borne diseases, so that the control of insect populations according to the International Journal of Science is one of the most effective control methods.
"A new tool like the one described in this article is urgently needed," Dobson said.