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New way to exterminate mosquitoes? SYSU: nuclear technology!

2021-Aug-23       Source: Newsgd.com

Recently, the CAEA Center of Excellence on Nuclear Technology Application for Insect Control established by Sun Yat-sen University (SYSU) has applied nuclear technology to the extermination of mosquit

Do you know? August 20 marks the World Mosquito Day, which was established to strengthen people's awareness of mosquito-borne diseases. Mosquitoes are major vehicles for the transmission of diseases such as malaria, dengue and Zika Fever. According to the World Health Organization, mosquito-borne diseases cause more than 700,000 deaths each year. Therefore, they are considered as the "world's deadliest animal".

File photo of mosquito larvae (Photo: Sun Junjie)

Recently, the CAEA Center of Excellence on Nuclear Technology Application for Insect Control established by Sun Yat-sen University (SYSU) has applied nuclear technology to the extermination of mosquitoes. It uses irradiation in the laboratory to destroy the fertility of male mosquitoes. These sterile males are then released into the nature to mate with female mosquitoes and reduce the incidence of mosquito-borne disease.

SYSU's X-LAB (Photo provided to Newsgd.com)

Mosquito larva feeding equipment (Photo provided to Newsgd.com)

"This method does not produce chemical pollution or harm other beneficial organisms, and it does not induce mosquitoes to develop resistance to drugs. It is the only modern biological technology currently that has the potential to eradicate specific mosquitoes in an area and control the spread of diseases," explained Wu Zhongdao, the director of the Center.

SYSU also established a "mosquito factory" named Guangzhou SYSU Nuclear & Insect Biotechnology Co., Ltd. to promote the application of key technologies in the Center. Located in the university's Dongguan Institute, this company was put into operation in December 2020.

SYSU's mosquito factory (Photo provided to Newsgd.com)

SYSU's "mosquito factory" will be built as a production base of sterilized mosquitoes in Asia. The capacity of the base is expected to reach 40-50 million mosquitoes a week, so as to provide sufficient sterilized mosquitoes. Moreover, 3-4 mosquito demonstration sites will be founded in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, and overseas training bases will be set up, too.

In June this year, SYSU signed with the International Atomic Energy Agency to co-establish a cooperation center in the field of nuclear technology targeting anti-mosquito measures. Both sides will work to provide more solutions for developing countries to control mosquito-borne infectious diseases and to deal with the international public health challenges.

In June this year, SYSU signed with the International Atomic Energy Agency to co-establish a cooperation center in the field of nuclear technology targeting anti-mosquito measures. (Photo provided to Newsgd.com)

Anti-mosquito tips in daily life

● How do I use mosquito repellents?

Smear or spray the repellents to the exposed skin areas such as heads, arms or legs and avoid contacting your eyes and mouth. If you are outdoors, apply them at intervals of 2-4 hours. Those repellents with pesticide registration certificates can be used for infants older than two months.

● What should I do when I suffer from mosquito bites?

First of all, you can use some anti-itch and anti-inflammatory measures with balms. If severer symptoms occur, go to hospital for medical treatment promptly.

● How can I avoid infecting my family and friends with mosquito-borne diseases?

If you feel uncomfortable with mosquito bites, go to hospital as soon as possible for medical treatment and take anti-mosquito isolation to avoid bites and prevent your family and friends from being infected.

● What should I do to prevent mosquito bites at home?

You can apply both physical and chemical methods at home to defend against mosquitoes. For example, install screen doors and windows or prepare electronic mosquito swatter. Alternatively, you can also use mosquito-repellent incenses or insecticide aerosols to exterminate mosquitoes.

Author | Nancy (intern)

Editor | Monica & Jerry

Editor: Monica Liu

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