Bacteria and mosquitoes: understanding the newest scientific and regulatory advances
On 29 October 2018, the European Commission adopted the decision that bacteria (and preparations) of the genus Wolbachia used for creating non-naturally infected mosquitoes for vector control purposes are to be considered a biocidal product. Furthermore, non-naturally infected mosquitoes, irrespective of the infection technique used, are considered neither a biocidal product nor a treated article.
In this article, Eneree Gundalai from TSG Consulting's biocides team explains what Wolbachia are, as well as the implications of the EC decision.
What are Wolbachia?
- Sterile insect technique - The cytoplasm of infected male sperm and non-infected female eggs are incompatible, resulting in the death of the eggs fertilized by this mating. Introducing a large number of infected males into the wild population will effectively sterilize a number of females, reducing the future population.
- Reduction of disease transmission - When Wolbachia is artificially forced to form a symbiosis with Aedes aegypti as a new mosquito host, it boosts the basal immune response and enhances the mosquitoes’ resistance to diseases.
Minimizing Wolbachia biocide application
The maternal transmission of Wolbachia, in the laboratory and in the wild, is self-sustaining. Once critical mass for the infected population is established, it is no longer necessary to inoculate the Wolbachia into the mosquitoes. In light of the decision by the European Commission to consider the non-naturally infected mosquitoes as neither a biocidal product nor a treated article, the transportation of Wolbachia host populations is a viable method by which to minimize the use of Wolbachia as a biocidal product. The hosts, whether they be eggs, larvae or adults can be transported to laboratories to seed new populations.
Have a question?
If you have any questions about the EC decision on Wolbachia, please get in touch.