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Mosquitoes to be bred on large scale to study infectious diseases, says French biotech company

A French start-up has announced the first "industrial-scale mosquito breeding site" in an effort to fight mosquito-borne diseases, like dengue.

The site will be built in Australia, though the exact location has not been disclosed yet.

Dengue can cause serious illness and even death, according to the WHO, and it is mainly present in Asia and Latin America.

It killed 600 people in Brazil in 2019 alone, and the number of cases has grown eight times over the past twenty years.

"The idea is to be able to help larger cities of several million people," Aude Guo, co-founder of InnovaFeed, told news agency AFP.

The primary spreader of DENV, the virus causing dengue, is believed to be the Aedes aegypti mosquito.

It mainly lives in urban habitats and "breeds mostly in man-made containers", the WHO says.

InnovaFeed will partner in this project with the World Mosquito Program (WMP).

The WMP began fighting the transmission of such viruses to humans ten years ago by infecting female mosquitos with bacteria generally present in most insects worldwide.

It then released such mosquitoes, carrying the Wolbachia bacteria, in Australia, Brazil, New Caledonia and Indonesia, managing to reduce dengue rates by 77%, the WMP claimed.

But faced with the proliferation of mosquitoes and the ever-increasing spread of diseases transmitted to humans - like dengue, but also Zika, Chikungunya and yellow fever - the program has decided to step up its research efforts.

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