Combating Zika with Chromobacterium
An Environmentally Friendly Mosquitocide
Organization: Johns Hopkins University
Location: Baltimore, Maryland, USA
Problem: Current Zika control strategies are mainly based on the use of insecticides and personal protectants. A continuous emergence of mosquito resistance to insecticides and the lack of drugs and vaccines against Zika, dengue, Chikungunya, and other mosquito – transmitted pathogens render the development of novel cost-effective mosquito control strategies urgent.
Solution: Development of Chromobaterium Csp_P as a cost-effective, environmentally-friendly and logistically simple mosquito control biopesticide. Chromobateria are abundant soil bacteria and have already been developed for agricultural pest control, but not for mosquito control. The unique properties of Chromobaterium Csp_P, which can kill larvae and adults of multiple mosquito vector species, and block pathogen infection of mosquitoes, renders it a highly potent candidate for developing weapons against current and future mosquito-borne diseases.
George Dimopoulos – Professor, Johns Hopkins University ; PhD, University of Crete; Post-Doc, European Molecular Biology Laboratory
"As a PhD student in the early 90ties I was intrigued about the almost complete lack of knowledge concerning the molecular interactions between mosquitoes and pathogens that enable transmission of some of mankind’s most important diseases. This lead me to choose a thesis project that focused on malaria transmitting mosquitoes. I have worked on mosquito disease vectors since then. More recently I was inspired by the potential of harmless environmental microorganisms for the control of harmful disease-transmitting mosquitoes to engage in the 'Combating Zika and Future Threats Grand Challenge' project."