Rabu 06 Dec 2023 21:16 WIB

Researchers Affirm Safety of Wolbachia Bacteria

No Wolbachia antibodies were found in the blood samples tested.

Rep: Febrianto Adi Saputro/ Red: Fernan Rahadi
Mosquitos with Wolbachia bacteria.
Foto: Republika/Wihdan Hidayat
Mosquitos with Wolbachia bacteria.

REPUBLIKA.CO.ID, SLEMAN -- Tropmed Talk on Stage held by the Center for Tropical Medicine (PKT) UGM recently raised the theme of Wolbachia. Lead Researcher of World Mosquito Program (WMP) Yogyakarta, Professor Adi Utarini, again confirmed the safety of Wolbachia bacteria.

“These Wolbachia are naturally occurring bacteria that are present in about 60 percent of the insects around us,” Adi Utarini said.

He also recounted the phases that the research went through to successfully prove that the mosquito with Wolbachia method managed to reduce 77 percent of dengue cases and 86 percent of the incidence of hospital treatment due to dengue infection in Yogyakarta City.

Until this final result, he and the rest of the research team carried out various supporting tests both in the laboratory and in the field in a structured and systematic way.

Another WMP researcher, Eggi Arguni, describes in detail the tasks he and other researchers perform in the lab. One of them is to test the content of Wolbachia in captured mosquitoes. Eggi explained that the captured mosquitoes were checked for their Wolbachia content to determine the percentage of Wolbachia in the Aedes aegypti population in the release region.

Another test he carried out was to check the content of Wolbachia antibodies in the blood samples of mosquito feeders. At the test he found no Wolbachia antibodies in the blood samples tested. This proves that Wolbachia in Aedes aegypti cannot pass into the human body when the mosquito bites.

Not only the blood of mosquito feeders, blood samples were also taken from people living in the release area. Not only researchers, stakeholders and cadres who have been involved in the research are present as sources to tell their experience of involvement in the research, the results of which are now being implemented by the Ministry of Health (Ministry of Health) of the Republic of Indonesia. Public figures who have lived side by side with Wolbachia for 10 years also gave their testimony.

"I have been living with Wolbachia for 10 years, thank God, the transmission of DB (dengue, Red) is no longer there," said Anto Sudadi, the hamlet Kronggahan.

He said researchers were constantly educating about DBD and Aedes aegypti with Wolbachia technology before it began to be released into the homes of its citizens. While the DBD Program Manager of the Department of Health of Yogyakarta City, Rubangi reported the decrease in cases of DBD in Yogyakarta City after the intervention of the Wolbachia mosquito that has been carried out since 2016 in Yogyakarta City.

"As of October, only 67 cases have been recorded," he said.

The figure is the lowest in the last 10 years, as well as the lowest compared to other districts in the Special Region of Yogyakarta. In addition to the decrease in cases, Yogyakarta health department also recorded a decrease in the need for fogging which was implemented nine times this year. As a result, the funds allocated for fogging can be diverted to the treatment of other diseases.

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