Back to all stories
Innovation

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong visits Verily’s mosquito sex sorting operations at the Environmental Health Institute

On September 15, the Debug team welcomed Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to our operations in Singapore, as part of his tour of the National Environment Agency (NEA) - Environmental Health Institute (EHI) Mosquito Production Facility. In addition to ongoing threats from Covid-19, dengue remains a top priority in Singapore, and his tour highlighted the importance of developing novel tools such as Project Wolbachia – Singapore to prevent the spread of dengue.

Prime Minister Lee saw first hand some of the tools that have enabled the success of Project Wolbachia – Singapore, in which Verily has partnered with the NEA-EHI since 2018. As part of the program, Verily has released male Wolbachia-carrying Aedes aegypti mosquitoes in parts of Tampines town and has achieved a greater than 90% reduction in mosquito population, resulting in 65-80% reduction in dengue cases.

We were honored to demonstrate our technology to Prime Minister Lee and Mrs. Lee, who joined him on the tour. Together they visited our Sex Sorting Room, currently housed within the NEA-EHI Mosquito Production Facility and took a deep dive into understanding our mosquito sex-sorting technology, which has been successfully used in Debug Fresno and Debug Innisfail to separate male and female mosquitoes using a computer vision algorithm and artificial intelligence.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Mrs. Lee taking a closer look at Verily sex sorters

We are excited to continue to deploy our engineering and scientific capabilities to support NEA-EHI in scaling up production, sex sorting and release of male Wolbachia-carrying Aedes aegypti mosquitoes over the years to come.

Debug team members with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (center) and Mrs. Lee ( right of center)

Yanni Yoong, Program Manager, Debug; Hyegi Chung, Country Lead, Verily