Monash program to eradicate mosquito-borne viruses shortlisted to receive $140 million

A Monash-led project to eradicate mosquito-borne viruses worldwide, including dengue and Zika, has been shortlisted to receive a $AUD140 million grant from the MacArthur Foundation in the US.

The World Mosquito Program is the only Australian organisation on the list of six finalists for the foundation’s 100&Change windfall grant, which had 755 applications.

The grant would see the World Mosquito Program expand its innovative Wolbachia method of fighting mosquito-borne disease worldwide.

Since kick-starting in tropical Australia in 2011, the World Mosquito Program has evolved into an international not-for-profit initiative operating in Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Indonesia, Vietnam, India, Sri Lanka, Fiji, Vanuatu, Kiribati and New Caledonia, with regional hubs in Melbourne and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

Read more on the breakthrough program at Monash Lens.

The program introduces a natural bacteria called Wolbachia that is present in up to 60 per cent of insect species into Aedes aegpyti mosquitoes, reducing their ability to transmit the viruses. Once released, they breed with wild mosquitoes, passing on the ability to block the diseases.

Read more on the World Mosquito Program website.