(Bloomberg) – Silicon Valley researchers are attacking floating blood vessels in California's Fresno area. This is the first outbreak of unlikely warfare for Google Parent Alphabet Inc.: Eliminate mosquito-borne illnesses around the world.
White high-end Mercedes van waves travel through suburban expansion and strip centers like a men's bar Aedes aegypti The mosquitoes are removed from the black plastic tube onto the passenger window. These pests are negligible and, with only a few millimeters of wings wide, all but invisible.
"You hear this little beat sound?" Says Kathleen Parke, Abby, Lecturer, Alphabet. She changes the wagon into her car, sliding the windows down. "Like duh-duh-duh? It's the release of the shirts."
Jacob Crawfords, a really senior scientist driving on Parkes, begins to describe a mock-up control technique with dazzling potential. He explains that these special pests were raised in the highly automated mosquito growing system in the neighborhood of Verily, located 200 miles south of southern San Francisco. They were infected with Wolbachia, a common bacterium. When these 80,000 laboratory-grown Wolbachia-infected male mosques mate with their fellow female females, the result of stealth destruction: the descendants never snapped.
Better makes it 79,999. "Just hit the windshield," says Crawford.
The mosquito-borne eradication is a serious alphabet, although this is just one of the many achievements of the company in health and life sciences. Thanks to verily and to another branch of the company, Alphabet deals with intelligent contact lenses, artificial intelligence in healthcare and molecular aging mechanisms. In just this month, Google has received David Feinbergu, General Director of Health at Geisinger, to monitor many health initiatives.
Truly carefully protecting your technology. But there is reason to believe that if it succeeds in achieving control of sufficiently convenient and sufficiently low mosquitoes, it could be a good idea: many governments and companies around the world would be happy to solve their mosquito problems.
In the dry climate of the Californian central valley, A. aegypti are admired for their evil bites. But there, at least, they usually do not send the disease. Other places are less happy. The mosquito species is one of the world's deadliest diseases, such as fever and chikungunya in tropical and subtropical areas. The disease it destroys, kills tens of thousands of people each year and infects millions of people. In turn, the distribution of Wolbachia infected mosquitoes in the wild may ultimately be wiped out due to the population of all lethal mosquitoes and diseases.
At least this is a plan if the field trial course takes place in California. Every morning during the mosquito season, which runs from April to November, the bath with "Debing Fresno" runs through many multi-apartment houses with a lot of leafy houses. In the predetermined locations, the algorithm automatically releases the carefully calculated number of mosquitoes, counting each individual insect with the laser when it exits the wagon.
As efforts to destroy mosquito-borne diseases have increased, there are some different approaches to the problem. Only Bill Gates has pledged more than $ 1 billion in technology that can help eliminate malaria, including controversial efforts to genetically modify mosquitoes. Indeed, the approach is based on a variation of a very old strategy known as the sterile insect technique in which the population is gradually being destroyed, impeding reproduction capacity.
It is not clear what would happen if the mosquitoes caused by the global disease were stopped. The ecological role played by mosquitoes has not been studied thoroughly, although some scholars suggest that without them we might be just fine. But it's clear that A. aegypti no business in Fresno area. From the native to the warmer, wetter cliffs, nobody knows where they came from when they first arrived in 2013. All that is safe is that they are spreading very fast.
"After we discovered it, we made a huge and vast effort to prevent the mosque from being created and removed," says Jodi Holeman, Director of Scientific Services at the Consolidated Mosquito Momentry Area in the Fresno Area. "We were by no means successful in shapes or shapes."
The area went from the fact that there is not much mosquitos problem to have someone who allowed the people to escape their yards and verandas. Unlike most mosquitoes A. aegypti living and breeding places where people live by dipping eggs, say, some stagnant drops of water at the bottom of the glass of wine left on the balcony, then hiding under the beds and cupboards, killing legs and ankles. It makes it more difficult to fight. Fresno teamed up with a scientist named Stephen Dobson and his company MosquitoMate, door-to-door and asking people to tip over from standing water.
It was Dobson's laboratory that looked at how to infect mosquitoes with a Wolbachia form that is different from the type of bacteria that are usually mosquitoes. It makes eggs impossible. MosquitoMate makes two species of mosquitoes infected with Wolbachia, A. aegypti and Aedes albopictus. Fresno became one of the test sites.
Initial Fresno studies were the first men A. aegypti The United States has been released from bacterial contamination. The following year, he was really involved in helping to alleviate these efforts by introducing more advanced technologies for the cultivation and release process, which in their view would ultimately make the mosquito battles massively adaptable.
It seems to work. This year, in fact, signed a second season of releases. Two genuine trucks are located in four different residential areas, reaching over 3,000 homes. More than six months, the company released more than 15 million mosquitoes. The results of 2017 showed that the number of slaughtered molluscs fell by two thirds. This year's tweaks to the program are to reduce the population of the mosquito by a whopping 95 percent. The second project, which was completed in Australia by Innisfail in June, reduced the number of mosquitoes by 80 percent. It is suitable to eventually transfer technology to other parts of the world that have devastated not only ankles, but also deadly illnesses.
Initially, genuine leaders were concerned about the community's resistance to errors with more errors. Thus, the company created an advertising booth that was packed with a cage containing men's mosquitoes that people could stick to to find out that the males did not hurt. (Only female honey bees, so these and similar projects carefully release men.)
"We're really glad you're here," said Klifforth Lopes, a businessman. "I'm proud of people about how I can now sit on my porch instead of getting a bit."
The original trials of videos can be seen by Holeman, a Fresno area scientist, thoroughly blasting mosquitoes from the pipe. The release van is now filled with proprietary technology, including software that determines exactly which areas of the mosquito area should be released, and sufficient laser sensitivity to count each of them when it exits, generating load data that can later be used to punish -Tune process
At the headquarters of Vera, the "mosquito" "factory" involves even more automation. When the eggs are placed, the robots in the rear moski fall into adulthood by packaging them in containers filled with water and air, feeding them and keeping them warm. Other robots are sorted by gender, first by size (women are bigger) and then optically using proprietary technology. All mosquitoes have a numeric identifier that allows them to be traced from the state of the eggs to the specific GPS coordinate where they are released.
With this season's wrapping, the company has not yet decided whether it will continue to expand the program next year. You could not really say how much it costs to produce and release tens of thousands of mosquitoes each day, but it's safe, but it's still an expensive offer.
"The main part of the effort is to make this program very affordable and effective," said Crawford, a true scientist, "so we can go to places where there is not much money."