Alphabet Inc., the parent company of Google, is reportedly working on eradicating diseases spread by mosquitoes around the world. According to Bloomberg, efforts towards the same are underway in California’s Fresno.
The tests are being conducted by Verily Life Sciences, a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc., and involves releasing swarms of male Aedes aegpypti mosquitoes infected with a bacterium that causes their offspring to never hatch. If the company’s testing is successful in Fresno, it’ll also expand the efforts to other areas across the globe, where mosquitoes spread dengue and other diseases.
It’s worth mentioning that Aedes aegpypti (also known as yellow fever mosquito) are an invasive species, which arrived in Fresno back in 2013. Initial efforts to eliminate the mosquitoes proved unsuccessful. This mosquito species is considered to be the among the deadliest in the world, spreading diseases like dengue and chikungunya.
“After we detected it, we did a massive and extensive effort to prevent the mosquito from establishing and eliminate it. We were not successful, in any way, shape or form,” Jodi Holeman, the scientific services director for Fresno County’s Consolidated Mosquito Abatement District, was quoted as saying by the Bloomberg report.
The infected mosquitoes being used by Verily Life Sciences could be the solution, and as per Bloomberg, the program has reduced the population of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes by up to 95 percent this year. As explained by Jacob Crawford, a senior scientist with Alphabet’s Verily Life Sciences, the infected mosquitoes were bred in the company’s automated mosquito rearing system