The Gates Foundation is funding an approach to stop the Zika Virus with a Sexually Transmitted Disease. The Zika virus disease is a disease caused by the Zika virus, which is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito.
Though people rarely die from this virus, Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause a serious birth defect called microcephaly, as well as other severe fetal brain defects. (Microcephaly is a condition where a baby’s head is much smaller than expected. Babies with microcephaly often have smaller brains that might not have developed properly.)
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation CEO Susan Desmond-Hellmann showed off a kit at a ReCode Conference on Tuesday that looks like a Chinese food take-out box that contains female mosquito eggs that have been infected with a bacteria.
When these insects are born, they will produce offspring that is unable to transmit a variety of diseases, including Zika.
The Gates Foundation has been funding the Australian researchers behind the STD approach for more than eight years, originally to halt the threat of Dengue fever, though the same approach should also help fight the spread of Zika, as well as Chikungunya, another serious mosquito-borne disease.
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