Tamil Nadu: A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed between the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and Monash University, Australia on technology transfer to eliminate Dengue.
The research will involve investigating the use of self-sustaining Wolbachia bacteria to combat dengue and other mosquito-born viruses in India.
The three-member team headed by Scott O’Neill, Director, Institute of Vector-Borne Disease and Eliminate Dengue Program, Monash University, Australia, have visited the Vector Control Research Centre (VCRC), in Puducherry, to facilitate the transfer of technology.
Technical expertise to fight Dengue is to be provided by the Monash University, said P. Jambulingam, Director, Vector Control Research Centre, ICMR.
“The efficacy of the disease control method will be tested in the laboratory. The team from Monash University will help set up the laboratory for study and provide technical support. This technology will be tested in the laboratory as part of the dengue control program before it is taken for the field studies,” added the Director .
Explaining the process, P. Jambulingam said the technology introduces Wolbachia bacteria in dengue virus carrying mosquitoes, Aedes aegypti, to stop viral transmission.
Speaking about the contribution of technology in hindering the spread of dengue, Scott O’Neill, Director, Institute of Vector-Borne Disease and Eliminate Dengue Program, Monash University, said that they use Wolbachia bacteria to reduce the ability of mosquitoes to transmit harmful human viruses such as Dengue, Chikungunya, and Zika.
“We have been working in Cairns and Townsville regions in Australia since 2011.The results have shown that there are no local transmission cases of dengue for the last three years,”he told the Hindu.
Mr. O Neill said that the first phase of the technology transmission will be on for 12 months. “This method is also used in countries such as Brazil, Colombia, Indonesia, Vietnam countries,” he said.
Sarala K Subbarao, Consultant, Vector Borne Diseases Science Forum, ECD Division, ICMR, Enrica Longo, Director, External Relations, Eliminate Dengue Program, Monash University, Edwige Rances, Project Development Manager – Indonesia, Eliminate Dengue Program, Monash University were present.
The team had an interactive session with faculty of important medical institutions in Puducherry, including: Puducherry Institute of medical sciences (PIMS), Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research(JIPMER) and Pondicherry Central University.