20 million mosquitoes to invade California in bug fight

Modesto Morganelli
Luglio 15, 2017

Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) will soon release 20 million mosquitos in the Fresno, CA area that carry a special bacteria, which it hopes will help kill off the potentially Zika-carrying mosquito population.

The Zika-carrying Aedes aegypti mosquito is prevalent in the Fresno area, and a woman contracted the virus there recently from a sexual partner who'd been traveling overseas. Earlier this year, a woman in Fresno tested positive with Zika, through sexual contact with a partner who had been travelling. As fears rise of a mosquito bite then spreading the virus to others, Verily chose to take action and attempt the innovative measure. This initiative, dubbed the "Debug Project", is actually part of public health effort to fight the very mosquito populations that spread nasty scourges like the deformity-causing Zika virus.

Aedes aegypti are invasive and first appeared in the central valley region of California in 2013. It uses them to produce infertile male insects treated with naturally occurring Wolbachia bacteria, and has used its custom-built machines and algorithms to increase its production of mosquitos.

Bonus, male mosquitoes don't bite, so Fresno residents won't have to worry about itching more than they usually would.

Verily has not revealed how much Debug Project is going to cost, but Linus Upson, the Debug Project member, revealed that Verily has planned to do something similar in Australia after Fresno.

The release of the sterile mosquitoes - 1 million each over a 20-week period across two neighborhoods - will be the biggest one in the U.S.to date, according to Verily.

Those in the Fancher Creek neighborhood may notice a Verily van releasing healthy swarms of the little bugs throughout its streets starting today.

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