Why a leading medical organization’s institute feeding mosquitoes a special diet?

Feeding Mosquitoes a special diet : Four different artificial diets have been developed by the ICMR-Vector Control Research Centre in Pondicherry to feed mosquitoes instead of the traditional “blood diet.”

Numerous viral infections, including Zika, dengue, chikungunya, yellow fever, and others, are spread by mosquitoes. Researchers are looking on techniques to reduce the spread of these mosquito-borne illnesses.

Why ICMR-Vector Control Research Center feeding mosquitoes a special diet ?

The largest research center looking at how such dangerous illnesses might be avoided and treated is the ICMR-Vector Control Research Centre in Pondicherry.

“The diet is much like a baby formulas meal and includes all nutrients which are available in the blood,” said Nisha Mathew, VCRC scientist and E/Deputy Director and one of the innovators who developed 18 alternative diets.

“This ‘formula diet’ must entice hungry female mosquitoes to take the food that tastes like blood that creates healthy and viable eggs that will hatch like regular eggs and give birth to healthy progeny,” she added. When appropriate, this can be helpful for mass manufacturing and laboratory research.

Dr. Ashwani Kumar praised the scientists’ action as well. According to Dr. Ashwani Kumar, Director, ICMR-VCRC, Puducherry, “When these diets were evaluated, 2 diets showed similar and the other 2 diets superior to the entire blood diet as the females eating on them produced a healthier and bigger number of eggs than the regular blood diet.”

Dr. Nisha provided further information on the patent-pending indigenous mosquito feeder.

“By normal water circulation or by employing the melted wax, it was very difficult to keep the temperature suitable for feeding to the appropriate level, i.e. 37 degrees Celsius, which is human body temperature. As a result, a gadget with regulated temperature was created, and a prototype’s potential to attract mosquitoes was also assessed. The traditional hot water circulator-based feeding equipment might be simply replaced with this. Both of these creations have patents and are prepared for production, according to Dr. Nisha.

“These inventions are a success story. It is an artificial mosquito diet that is commercially viable and technically sound. It has great potential in rearing mosquitoes for research purposes and also for the mass production of mosquitoes for their control based on sterile insect technology, population replacement, or population reduction study and Wolbachia endosymbiont bacteria-based control operations,” she said.

It is a known fact that female mosquitos need human blood for breeding. For that, the institute seeks help from local blood banks.

Dr. Nisha cited research from VCRC that demonstrated the effectiveness of this artificial food and feeding apparatus combination in feeding Aedes aegypti, Anopheles stephensi, and Culex quinquefasciatus mosquitoes and effectively generating many offspring.

The mosquito feeding apparatus and diet formulations are both outstanding accomplishments and essential for vector research today.

The information stated that “the efficient and economical mass-rearing of mosquitoes in laboratory conditions is highly important to investigate fundamental aspects of their biology, their effectiveness as disease-causing agents, new control methods, and also to study insecticide resistance in mosquitoes”.

“To lay eggs, female mosquitoes need to consume human or animal blood. Blood must be collected for this purpose from blood banks or live animals that have received the required human and animal ethics approval. It is difficult to obtain a steady supply of blood from the blood center, “reads the data that the ICMR-VCRC has supplied.

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