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Jakarta Post

Indonesia's Wolbachia project holds big promise, raising hope for dengue elimination

  • Bambang Muryanto

    The Jakarta Post

PREMIUM
Yogyakarta   /   Thu, October 3, 2019   /  05:59 pm
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Aedes Aegypti mosquitoes(Antara/Anis Efizudin )

A collaboration involving the Center for Tropical Medicine of Gadjah Mada University’s School of Medicine and Nursing, the Tahija Foundation and Monash University has given the world new hope in combating dengue fever. Since 2011 researchers have intervened in the environment by releasing Aedes aegypti mosquitoes carrying the Wolbachia bacteria in a residential area and have succeeded in drastically decreasing dengue fever cases in the area. Wolbachia, which was first identified by United States scientists Marshall Hertig and S. Burt Wolbach in the 1920s and 1930s, is a bacterium that naturally exists in insects but not in Aedes aegypti. In the 1980s the director of Monash University’s World Mosquito Program (WMP), entomologist Scott O’Neill, conducted research into the possibility of the bacterium stopping mosquitoes from being a vector for dengue fever. Af...