Mosquito research being done at UNF to abate Zika fears

JACKSONVILLE, Fla.—Potentially ground-breaking research into mosquito abatement being done at a University of North Florida lab.

Although researchers say we'll never completely get rid of mosquitos, Biology Professor Dr. Doris Bowers says she has developed and patented a substance with hopes of decreasing the mosquito population.

Dr. Bowers is researching mosquitos that can carry the Zika virus. The project she's currently working on uses a substance she developed which keeps the insect from becoming an adult. It's a substance she hopes will one day be available to the public.

"Slow them down so they don't become flying adults. The adult females bite and that is when they draw your blood, they suck your blood and they can infect you with viruses," says Dr. Bowers.

The goal is to control the mosquito population, especially during the summer months.

"We have a lot more residual water, it's hotter, there's a lot more places for them to hide," says Kelsey Sutphin, a UNF undergraduate student helping with the research.

She says people need to take a closer look at their surroundings if they want to get rid of the bloodsuckers. "Like that bucket or that watering can that you don't think about and hats why we're really hopeful that eventually the compounds that were using can go for just the common household."

Dr. Bowers says everyone should get involved. "It takes people taking care of their own back yards, it's everybody it's to everybody's interest to have less mosquitos."

UNF says the CDC and military have both expressed interest in this patent to be used in fighting mosquito-borne viruses.


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