Zika is More Related to Culex-Associated Viruses
WHO Failed to Warn Countries About Culex
We are back to square one, unfortunately. Zika is still spreading throughout the world. And the scientists who suspected Culex were also Zika vectors are being proven right.
"Zika is more related to the viruses transmitted by Culex."
I highly recommend you listen to Canadian medical entomologist, Dr. Fiona Hunter, at the Zika Symposium at 2016 International Congress of Entomology. Her talk begins at the 58:53 mark.
As cited in my article Wolbachia-Infected Mosquitoes Might Reduce Dengue, Enhance Zika, and Cause a Million Souls to Become Sterile:
15 Percent of Birds Had ZIKV (in Uganda, 1970)
Japanese Encephalitis Virus Has Multiple Vectors
So, It's Reasonable to Expect That the Zika Virus Does Too
According to the study Vectors of Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV): species complexes of the vectors by Sucharit S, Surathin K, and Shrestha SR, the vectors of JE include nine types of Culex, three types of Aedes, and two types of Anopheles mosquitoes.
As mentioned in the 2006 study by Tsai KH et al. Parallel Infection of Japanese Encephalitis Virus and Wolbachia within Cells of Mosquito Salivary Glands:
- Wolbachia infection is absent in many important disease-transmitting mosquitoes, including the Japanese encephalitis (JE) vector Culex tritaeniorhynchus Giles, the dengue vector Aedes aegypti (L.), and the malaria vectors (Anopheles spp.) (Kittayapong et al. 2000, Tsai et al. 2004).
- JE [and other viruses, like Zika] must infect and subsequently pass through the epithelium of mosquito midguts to reach salivary glands for further replication before transmission can occur.
- Whether the distribution of Wolbachia, JE virus or both is related to specific enzyme synthesis is not clear.
- Colocalization of Wolbachia with clustered JE virions revealed that these two microorganisms live in same environment.
- Whether the endosymbiont [Wolbachia] would interfere with the transmission of arboviruses remains to be demonstrated.
Wolbachia Might Enhance Pathogen Infection
Depending on the Host-Wolbachia-Pathogen Combination
As mentioned in the 2015 study by Raquin V et al. called Native Wolbachia from Aedes albopictus Blocks Chikungunya Virus Infection:
"In some cases Wolbachia may have no effect or even enhance pathogen infection, depending on the host-Wolbachia-pathogen combination."
And the 2015 study by Jakob F. Strauß and Arndt Telschow called Modeling the indirect effect of Wolbachia on the infection dynamics of horizontally transmitted viruses caused me to understand how linear thinking (in relation to how Zika is transmitted) is flawed. It states:
It was shown that the presence of a virus facilitates the invasion of Wolbachia. And it's important to note what Strauß and Telschow recognize "empirical data for wild populations are lacking".
Eliminate Dengue states: "Our aim is to spread Wolbachia into wild mosquito populations to reduce the ability of these mosquitoes to transmit disease."
The problem is: mosquitoes that are already infected with viral diseases, namely Zika, will become more easily infected with Wolbachia (which will act as a catalyst) to promote virus replication and survival.
Culex mosquitoes treated with Wolbachia were MORE likely to carry the virus.
At the time, Dr. Rasgon was trying to confirm if Wolbachia could help control the spread of West Nile Virus (WNV) which is transmitted by Culex mosquitoes. He expected Wolbachia to block WNV, but it didn't.
"We had to repeat it a couple times before we actually believed the result. I can’t believe this is just a fluke. If you keep looking, you’ll probably find more examples of it." ~ Dr. Jason Rasgon
A 2014 study called Wolbachia Increases Susceptibility to Plasmodium Infection in a Natural System by Zélé F et al. found:
Using a completely natural mosquito-Wolbachia-Plasmodium combination, results suggest that naturally Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes may, in fact, be better vectors of malaria than Wolbachia-free mosquitoes.
The mosquitoes used in this study were the same ones that Dr. Ayres warned the WHO about in February 2016: Culex pipiens quinquefasciatus.
Unfortunately, By Increasing Larval Mortality
Invasion of Viruses is Easier and Virus Frequencies Rise
- Our theoretical analysis suggests that the host life cycle may be an important factor for the success or failure of such biocontrol programs.
- A biocontrol program may be successful only in certain geographical regions or at certain time in the year. This argues for the need to carefully test for over- and under-compensation before and during the release of Wolbachia to natural populations.
"These genetic tools might not be the best strategies for ZIKV given that at this point there seem to be multiple vectors not only at the species but also at the population level. The current genetic technologies would not be appropriately applied to such complex systems."
How Long Have Scientists Known About the Risks?
A study published December 28, 2008 called The Bacterial Symbiont Wolbachia Induces Resistance to RNA Viral Infections in Drosophila melanogaster by Luís Teixeira, Álvaro Ferreira, and Michael Ashburner states:
"However, introducing Wolbachia to virus-transmitting vectors could be a double-edged sword. If the interaction Wolbachia-vector-virus were similar to the one seen in this report with DCV [Drosophila C virus], then it would be beneficial because it could decrease the probability of the vector being infected or transmitting the disease."
"If, however, it were similar to the interaction with FHV [Flock House virus], then there would be the risk of having healthier infected vectors with high titers of viruses, therefore INCREASING disease transmission."
Notably, this same study also stated:
Perhaps the claims of Wolbachia-infected Aedes reducing "the ability of these mosquitoes to transmit disease" are overblown.
Does Wolbachia Increase Larval Mortality?
According to the study by Ross, P et al. called the Costs of Three Wolbachia Infections on the Survival of Aedes aegypti Larvae under Starvation Conditions:
An Analogy to Depict the Behavior of Wolbachia
Wolbachia Acts as a Mutualistic Agent
Another study, published May 16th, 2016, called The influence of larval competition on Brazilian Wolbachia-infected Aedes aegypti mosquitoes by Dutra et al. states:
In Australian Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, the wMelPop Wolbachia strain causes infected larvae to develop faster than uninfected individuals under low nutritional conditions and high larval density, whereas the opposite effect occurred when food availability was high and larval density low.
Infected mosquitoes with faster development times also had elevated levels of glycogen. Therefore, Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes would have more energy to fly further (or longer) and this could help in host or oviposition site location [where eggs are laid], as well as invasion.
The Zika Virus is Behaving Like a Bacteriophage
Or is it just a phage Zika is going through?
Could Wolbachia and Zika Be Working Together?
According to the 2015 study by Roman Zug and Peter Hammerstein called Wolbachia and the insect immune system: what reactive oxygen species can tell us about the mechanisms of Wolbachia-host interactions:
In the host cytoplasm, Wolbachia are located within vesicles whose outermost membrane is of host origin (Louis and Nigro, 1989). This probably helps the bacteria to hide from the host immune system.
This is eerily similar to the quote I cited in my article Zika Shrivels Testes, Drops Testosterone, and May Cause Infertility:
"Researchers have known for some time that Zika can be transmitted via semen from men to women, hiding in the testes, where it can avoid the immune system; in fact, there is mounting evidence that it can continue to replicate in the testes – and even increase the viral load – for months after infection."
Culex and Birds With Zika Will Acquire Wolbachia
To Help Stop the Global Spread of the Zika Virus
I created a collection on Zazzle with over 70 products that promote the prevention of the spread of Zika. Every item purchased will help fund Zika research. You can even customize most of the products.
I also have a devoted Facebook page called Zika: Let's Stop a Global Pandemic where you can keep up-to-date on the latest findings from the scientific community (not mainstream media).
Author's note: All of my citations have a clickable link to their source. The list is found in the bibliography at the end of this page.