Global health R&D at work in Wisconsin
Aiming to stop the devastation of Zika, researchers at the University of Wisconsin (UW) at Madison are testing if mosquitoes—artificially infected with a bacterium called Wolbachia, found in 40 percent of the world’s insects—could be released into the wild to control Zika. Scientists from UW-Madison have already released Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes into countries with dengue virus, a related infection, to study the effect. In the lab, mosquitoes with Wolbachia have proven less capable of harboring Zika, indicating the bacterium could be used as a biological control mechanism. Another UW-Madison study found that monkeys infected with Zika are protected from future infection. These findings suggest that a vaccine against Zika should be effective.