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Wolbachia-based biocontrol of Aedes mosquitoes as an alternative technique to the use of chemical substances

Grant number: 20/10964-0
Support type:Regular Research Grants
Duration: January 01, 2021 - December 31, 2022
Field of knowledge:Physical Sciences and Mathematics - Mathematics - Applied Mathematics
Cooperation agreement: Ministry of Science, Technology And Innovation (Minciencias)
Principal researcher:Cláudia Pio Ferreira
Grantee:Cláudia Pio Ferreira
Principal researcher abroad: Olga Vasilieva
Institution abroad: Universidad del Valle (Univalle), Colombia
Home Institution: Instituto de Biociências (IBB). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus de Botucatu. Botucatu , SP, Brazil
Assoc. researchers: Daiver Cardona-Salgado ; Helenice de Oliveira Florentino Silva ; Lilian Sofia Sepulveda Salcedo


The most widely approaches to reduce human arboviral infections is the suppression of the vector population through the use of chemical and mechanical control. The long and intensive use of chemical products promotes the development of mosquitoes's resistance. Currently, the use of Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes that inhibits the transmission of arboviruses is under study as a potential eco-friendly biological control. A modeling framework is needed to assess the performance of the three major Wolbachia strains (wMelPop, wMel, and wAu). There are two ways to introduce Wolbachia-carrying insects in wild populations: (1) by a single inundative release; (2) by periodic inoculative releases. In both cases, the following metrics must be estimated: (i) the overall number of Wolbachia-carrying insects needed to be mass-reared and released, either at once or periodically; (ii) the time needed for establishing each particular {\it Wolbachia} strain; (iii) the maximum size of the remaining and still persistent wild vector population after Wolbachia invasion is achieved. Apart from the study of the novel wAu strain of Wolbachia not bearing the CI-phenotype, another key feature of our approach is to consider an imperfect maternal transmission of Wolbachia which has been evinced in laboratory studies but ignored in many existent mathematical models. It is worthwhile to emphasize that mathematical modeling and analysis combined with simulations offer a laboratory in silico to explore several scenarios with low cost. Nonetheless, the results of our project can provide an essential scientific base for using eco-friendly techniques for vector control. (AU)