- Wolbachia keep deadly viruses from replicating inside the mosquito, stopping disease transmission
- While they live in 60% of insects, Wolbachia must be manually placed inside mosquitoes
This is part one in a four-part series about the efforts to stop or slow the spread of Zika virus though the use of modified and engineered mosquitoes. See all four pieces here.
(CNN)Remember the movie "Alien," where the creature grows in the crewman's belly until it finally rips through his stomach to the outside world? Now imagine a kinder, gentler creature living inside the cells of up to 60% of the insects around us. This creature, a strain of bacteria called Wolbachia, manages to live off its hosts and transform them, but doesn't have to kill them to survive.