The world's richest man - worth $ 29.5 billion according to Forbes magazine - will invest in the fight against Aedes aegypti, a Brazilian transmitter of zika, dengue and chikungunya. Microsoft founder Bill Gates revealed in Geneva yesterday that he has signed an agreement with the US government and entities in 2016 to spend $ 18 million to genetically engineer mosquitoes, making them sterile.
Responding to the state, Gates reported that the tests are being conducted mainly in Antioquia, Colombia, in the suburbs of Rio, and also in Indonesia. The experiment comes after scientists in Asia have had positive results in Vietnam and other tropical countries. His advisers point out that the initiative has the potential to be the most impacted health initiative of the Gates Foundation, which over the last few years has committed more than $ 500 million to treat diseases.
Influenza and yellow fever vaccines can be taken on the same day, says expert.
The strategy is to contaminate the mosquito with Wolbachia bacteria. As a consequence, offspring would not have the ability to transmit disease. The bacteria is present in 60% of mosquitoes and insects. But not in Aedes aegypti. "That's the news. We're running the tests, and by the end of the year we'll know if that will work, " Gates said. If the tests yield positive results, protection for populations of sites with the endemic presence of the mosquito could increase by 40%.