In a breakthrough, Australian scientists have claimed to have found a new way to control dengue fever that kills over 40,000 people worldwide every year.

The team of researchers from University of Queensland’s (UQ) found that the lifespan of the mosquitoes which transmit dengue fever can be shorten by infecting them with a bacterium known as Wolbachia.

“It will lessen the chances of them infecting humans,” lead author Scott O’Neill said in the study published in leading scientific journal Cell.

He said, “In a surprising development we have found that mosquitoes carrying Wolbachia are resistant to a range of pathogens that cause disease in humans including dengue, Chikungunya and malaria parasites”.

“What this means is our original proposed method for dengue control may be more effective than we had previously considered and may even be extended to a range of other diseases in the future,” the author said.

At present, there is no vaccine or cure for dengue fever or “breakbone fever”, which is affecting tropical parts of the developing world the most. The deadly disease afflicts more than 50 million people and kills more than 40,000 worldwide every year.

The research is part of a large research programme funded through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Grand Challenges in Global Health initiative, reported.

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