Brazilian researchers receive public health award

Eliminate Dengue researchers in Brazil have received an honourable mention in the Ministry of Health’s Incentive Award in Science and Technology for the Public Health System, in the ‘published scientific work’ category.

The award recognises the contributions of the article entitled 'From Lab to Field: The Influence of Urban Landscapes on the Invasive Potential of Wolbachia in Brazilian Aedes aegypti Mosquitoes'. The article was authored by doctoral student Heverton Leandro Carneiro Dutra, under the guidance of Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz) researchers Luciano Moreira and Rafael Freitas. Dr Moreira is the lead scientist for the Eliminate Dengue in Brazil, and Dr Freitas coordinates the project’s entomology team.

The article investigates aspects of the Aedes aegypti mosquito’s biology and their relationship with Wolbachia bacteria, which reduce the ability of mosquitoes to transmit dengue. Wolbachia is transmitted from one generation of mosquitoes to the next through the insects’ eggs. The study sought to understand the factors that could influence this process, using laboratory tests and field and mathematical data.

Results showed that Wolbachia has the features needed to spread effectively among populations of Aedes aegypti in different urban environments, including current and future field trial sites in Rio de Janeiro. The analysis contributed to planning current releases of Wolbachia mosquitoes, which began in September 2014 in Tubiacanga, in Ilha do Governador, Rio de Janeiro. Since then, releases have also begun in Jurujuba, in the city of Niteroi, and early results appear promising.