The Challenges

Biocontrol approaches to epidemic mitigation have become critical as mosquitoes migrate beyond their normal boundaries expanding the threat of arbovirus pathogens geographically. Mosquitoes have expanded their normal habitat due to:

climate change

population growth

migration from rural areas to cities

growth of international travel

habitat encroachment

Current biocontrol approaches are focused on eliminating mosquitoes. Mosquito eradication can have devastating environmental and ecological effect. Pesticides kill both mosquitoes and beneficial insects with detrimental impact to both agriculture and wildlife. The Sterile Insect Technique (SIT) releases large quantities of sterilized male mosquitoes to mate with females in the wild; This causes the mosquito population, an important food source for wildlife, to collapse over time.

Mosquitoes are not the problem; the problem is the pathogens they carry.

Our Unique Approach

Vacunax’s HR-LAV strains are a new biocontrol weapon. Our strains target the arbovirus pathogen without harming the mosquitoes by persistently infecting (PI) them with non-pathogenic versions of Alphaviruses and Flaviviruses. Once in the population, these agents become sustained both vertically and horizontally into the mosquitoes’ lifecycle.

Interestingly, persistently infected insects are “immune” to a second infecting virus of the same family, a phenomenon known as “superinfection exclusion” (SIE). In this way, Vacunax HR-LAV strains replace the pathogenic Dengue virus, Yellow Fever, Chikungunya virus, and Zika virus creating non-pathogenic mosquito populations.

These “vaccinated” mosquito populations build a SIE barrier to pathogenic viruses in an environment. The result? Vacunax HR-LAV strains break the chain of transmission in the mosquitoes, reservoir animals, and disease epidemics in humans.

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