SINGAPORE has done laboratory tests on a new way to control the mosquito population, in the latest tactic to combat dengue.
A panel of experts will review the research and decide if field tests should be done, said Second Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Grace Fu on Sunday at the launch of the nationwide “Do the Mozzie Wipeout” campaign in Bukit Panjang.
Last year, the National Environment Agency’s (NEA’s) Environmental Health Institute began doing laboratory tests of male Aedes aegypti mosquitoes infected with a bacteria, Wolbachia, that causes their mating with wild females to produce sterile eggs.
These eggs do not develop into mosquitoes.
The NEA’s tests found that male Wolbachia-carrying mosquitoes can compete with wild males for mates.
The use of mosquitoes infected with Wolbachia, which has no effect on humans, has been field tested in Australia, Vietnam and Indonesia.
There are no plans yet to use these bugs on a large scale here, the NEA said.
The panel of experts studying the research comprise Duke-NUS epidemiologist Duane Gubler, Singapore Armed Forces biodefence centre head Vernon Lee, Tan Tock Seng clinical microbiologist Tim Barkham and three others from the United States, Britain and Australia. — The Straits Times / Asia News Network