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Zika Virus Algae Plan

March 26, 2016

NBC television in Austin, Texas, reports that researchers at the University of Texas at Austin are combining algae with mosquito-killing bacteria to fight mosquitoes and the Zika Virus they carry.

When the larvae eat the modified algae, it kills them within 24 to 48 hours. “This was something we were interested in for while but the technology wasn’t really available until, I would say the last five or six years to do it…” said Dr. David Herrin, “to actually make algae that could control mosquito larvae.”

The algae only target mosquito larvae, and researchers believe it could bring mosquito populations down 80 to 90 percent in areas used, restricting disease transmission. Dr. Herrin says it’s less toxic for people compared to existing pesticides, and shouldn’t change the water quality.

He says they would first recruit the help of mosquito control districts to distribute the algae, and then hope to eventually sell it to homeowners. “I think it would be great if they appeared eventually in stores, in little vials maybe, that people could buy and dump them in their fountains, ditches or wherever they have water around.”

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