They are tiny animals that live near or inside human dwellings where contact with people is high. Every few days, they lay 100-150 eggs which develop into adults in about a week. They are mosquitoes. The adult females feed on people’s blood, several times during the day.
The Environmental Protection Agency has now approved the use of special mosquitoes that have been infected with bacteria called Wolbachia for eradication of mosquitoes in 20 states and District of Columbia. This approach is known as the use of “biopesticide”. Now mosquitoes that spread viral illnesses like Dengue, Chikungunya, Zika etc. would be controlled effectively.
MIT researchers have developed a paper-based test that can diagnose Zika infection within 20 minutes. Unlike existing tests, the new diagnostic does not cross-react with Dengue virus, a close relative of the Zika virus that can produce false positives on many Zika tests.
Engineered strands of DNA -- nanoscale tools called "nanoswitches" -- could be the key to faster, easier, cheaper and more sensitive tests that can enable high-fidelity detection of biomarkers indicating the presence of different diseases, viral strains and even genetic variabilities as subtle as a single-gene mutation.