As we begin to wind down Debug Fresno operations for 2017, our team has been reflecting on the work of many individuals and groups that brought this study from concept to now near completion. From the development of unique technologies that scale the sterile insect technique, to testing our operations in a real-world environment and quickly adjusting to challenges, our team has achieved strong results from this season’s field study that we are proud to share today.
One of our primary goals at the outset of this study was to see a steep decline in the presence of female Aedes aegypti mosquitoes in the area where sterile male mosquitoes were released relative to similar control neighborhoods in Fresno County. Through the analysis of our trap and monitoring data, we found during the peak of the mosquito season there was an average 68% reduction in biting, female Aedes aegypti mosquitoes in our release area relative to other similar sites. These are promising results for our first field study, and we are looking forward to expanding to additional sites over more than one season to see what can be achieved.
For the Debug team at Verily, we also wanted to pressure test the first iteration of our technologies in a real-world environment and gather insights that could help us refine our approach. We gained valuable experience in all areas of the project. From larval production, to sorting male and female mosquitoes, to releasing sterile male mosquitoes, to trapping and monitoring, we continually improved our efficiency throughout the season. This experience is already being applied to future studies including Debug Innisfail, which will begin later this month in Australia.
As the mosquito season in Fresno County draws to a close, we want to thank the many people involved in this study, including our collaborators at Consolidated Mosquito Abatement District and MosquitoMate as well as the residents of Fresno County that have engaged with us in the Debug Fresno study. As our technology and research program continues to grow and improve, we hope to continue to partner with communities to learn how to reduce the threat of mosquito-borne diseases around the globe.
This post is also available on Debug's blog.
Posted by Jacob Crawford, Scientist and Yi Han, Product Manager