Infecting mosquitoes with a strain of bacteria reduced their ability to transmit the Zika virus, according to Brazilian researchers, NBC News reported.
Mosquitoes infected with the Wolbachia bacteria have been released in several countries including Australia, Brazil, Indonesia and Vietnam to help control dengue — and new findings are showing success with Zika. This raises hopes that it might block transmission of the virus.
The new study, by researchers at Brazil's Oswaldo Cruz Foundation and published in Cell Host & Microbe, takes advantage of the naturally occurring strain of Wolbachia, which live in insect cells and are found in 60 percent of common insects. The method involves inserting the bacteria into mosquito eggs, which pass the bacteria along to their offspring.
After two weeks in the Zika study, mosquitoes carrying Wolbachia had fewer particles of the virus in their bodies and saliva - making them less able to infect humans with the virus.
Researchers caution this strategy isn’t 100 percent effective and will not eliminate the virus. But it can be used as part of a control strategy.