Why Google's Verily Is Unleashing 20 Million Bacteria-Infected Mosquitoes in Fresno


The study would be conducted by Consolidated Mosquito Abatement District, MosquitoMate, and Verily, and this video is meant to inform residents of the possible activities of this study.

With the help of scientists, engineers, and Verily's global partners, the Debug Project aims to propagate bacteria-infected mosquitoes in hopes of eventually minimizing, if not completely eradicating, the population of disease-carrying mosquitoes.

Could messing with the mosquito population have some unforeseen disastrous consequences?

Last October, Verily announced its initiative to fight mosquito-borne diseases such as dengue fever and Zika virus.

Modified mosquitoes such as those being released by Verily are regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), coming under the heading of "microbial pest control". The field study is called Debug Fresno.

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Verily plans to release about 1 million mosquitoes a week over a 20-week period in two 300-acre neighborhoods in the Fresno area - the largest US release to date of mosquitoes infected with the Wolbachia bacteria.

This effort is not new with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation using the same Wolbachia bacterium in their philanthropic efforts, but Verily has been able to increase the release scale by 25x due to automated mass rearing machines (via Bloomberg) and sex-sorting processes developed in-house at the Alphabet 'bet'.

To measure our outcomes, we will compare the adult population density and egg hatching of Aedes aegypti in these targeted areas to two control neighborhoods. And Fresno residents need not worry about the 20-million male mosquitos because male mosquitos don't bite!

A million mosquitoes will be released over a 20-week period. Over time, we hope to see a steep decline in the presence of Aedes aegypti in these communities.