SUNDAY, JUNE 17, 2018

Dengue researchers receive Australian Museum's Eureka Prize

Six scientists from the Eliminate Dengue program were recently presented the 2013 Australian Museum's Australian Infectious Diseases Research Centre Eureka Prize for Infectious Diseases Research.

The program, led by Professor Scott O'Neill, Dean of Science at Monash University in Australia, was recognized for the development of an innovative method that may significantly decrease the prevalence of the disease.

"This award acknowledges a considerable body of work initiated over 20 years ago that is currently coming to fruition, thanks to the dedication and persistence of a large number of talented individuals working effectively as a great team," O'Neill said.

The research team discovered when Wolbachia, a natural bacterium, was used on the mosquitoes known to transmit dengue fever, it reduced the mosquitoes' ability to transmit the virus to humans.

In trials in Northern Australia, the research team proved wild mosquito populations treated with Wolbachia were sustained and still carried the bacterium at least two years after treatment. Studies are underway to determine to what extent the transmission of dengue virus is reduced as a result of Wolbachia treatment.

"...We hope this collaborating research effort will have a real impact on reducing dengue transmission not only in Brazil but in over 100 countries where dengue occurs," O'Neill said.