Research moves to the mainland
The first stage of our research has now begun in Nha Trang, on the south central coast of Vietnam, with the placement of mosquito-monitoring traps across the city.
The Vietnamese project has received approval from the Ministry of Health Ethical and Technical Review Board for a one-year planning phase in Nha Trang. This phase will focus on collecting information about the local area, including the existing mosquito population and current dengue levels.
The data we collect will help us plan future trials of our Wolbachia method. The next goal of our research is to evaluate the impact of our approach on dengue transmission by directly measuring the reduction of dengue during large-scale trials. However, we first need to spend time monitoring potential trial sites so we can determine the most suitable locations. Any release of Wolbachia mosquitoes in Nha Trang would only go ahead with community support and regulatory approval.
While planning is underway for the next phase of our research, the local team is continuing to monitor the mosquito population on Tri Nguyen Island where we released Wolbachia mosquitoes from May to November last year.
Close to 100% of mosquitoes are now carrying Wolbachia, more than four months after the last weekly release. We expect to see ongoing high levels of Wolbachia on the island, leading to a reduced risk of local dengue transmission.
Project staff continue to visit the island every week, which allows them to keep working closely with the local community. During a recent island-wide health check-up, the team arranged an education stand and children’s games, which gave them an opportunity to meet with community members and update them about the project.