The Asian Tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus) is classified as one of the top 100 most dangerous invasive insects in the world and the most invasive mosquito. An EU-funded initiative has developed genetic tools to halt the spread of this lethal species.
Harmful diseases such as Dengue, Yellow fever, West Nile fever and Chikungunya are all spread by Ae. albopictus. The mosquito has now colonised vast areas of the Americas, Asia and Europe; however, there is currently a lack of information and of cost-effective control measures.
As the species spreads to new areas of the continent, the threat posed by Ae. albopictus to Europe is increasing. Therefore, better scientific data are needed to halt this advance and for implementing surveillance operations and control measures in areas already infected.
The BLOCKTIGER project increased the capacity of area-wide control to combat Ae. albopictus through the use of integrated vector management. Project partners used their expertise in the fields of molecular biology, and mosquito genetics and rearing techniques to target the species in Italy.
Researchers developed a diet for mosquitoes that took into account the importance of dietary fatty acids. The diet was used in the mass rearing projects for Ae. albopictus and Ae. Arabiensis in Italy and Sudan. Mass rearings were used to assess genetically modified mosquito strains developed as sterile insect technique control measures that target Ae. Albopictus.
BLOCKTIGER facilitated the use of human resources, through exchanging scientific staff between participating EU laboratories, thereby releasing the full potential of their expertise. Staff exchanges and the transfer of knowledge also helped to bridge differences between the way European and United States laboratories operate in the area of genetic vector control.
The project outcomes will play a significant role in protecting human health from mosquito-borne diseases by preventing the spread of Ae. albopictus in Europe and around the world.
Provided by Cordis