July 21, 2020
The World Mosquito Program has been announced on a shortlist of six finalists for 100&Change, a global competition for a single $100 million grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation to fund a bold solution to critical social challenges.
After 755 proposals were received from organisations worldwide, World Mosquito Program is the only Australian organisation on the shortlist of 6.
The $100 million grant would see the World Mosquito Program expand its innovative Wolbachia method of fighting mosquito-borne disease worldwide.
After first trials 10 years ago in North Queensland from research at Monash University, the Wolbachia method is now used in 13 countries to reduce the community burden of diseases such as dengue, Zika, yellow fever and chikungunya.
World Mosquito Program Founder & Director Professor Scott O’Neill said,
“Our Wolbachia method is an innovative and sustainable way of controlling mosquito-borne disease. We have partnered with communities in Australia, Asia & Latin America and the growing evidence shows significant and sustained reduction in cases. If we can scale this innovation across entire cities with partners like the MacArthur Foundation, we can completely prevent the transmission of diseases like dengue, zika & chikungunya.”
“The critical challenges that these six ambitious proposals are tackling existed long before the pandemic,” said MacArthur President John Palfrey. “The extraordinary inequality that has been accentuated by the coronavirus will continue to exist after it subsides, unless we start to reimagine our future and support the reinvention of systems and structures that create a more just, equitable, and resilient world. MacArthur is committed to supporting organizations that think big, because solutions are possible.”
Professor Scott O’Neill added, “It’s an honour to be shortlisted in the final six from nearly 800 applicants. If successful this $100m grant allows us to take our work first tested in North Queensland to reach 100 million people worldwide. Dengue is the world’s fastest growing tropical disease. North Queensland is just the beginning of our work to lift the burden of dengue on communities around the world.”
Further details on the MacArthur Foundation, the 100&Change initiative and all six finalists can be found here:
About the World Mosquito Program
Working to help protect the global community from mosquito-borne diseases, the World Mosquito Program, formerly the Eliminate Dengue Program, is a not-for-profit initiative led by Monash University, Australia. It uses a safe, natural, and effective method to reduce the threat of viruses such as Zika, dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever. Through our collaborative and innovative approach, we are helping to protect local communities from these diseases in Australia, Asia, Latin America, and the Pacific Islands. Following many years of laboratory research and field trials with promising results, the World Mosquito Program is now operating in 11 countries around the world.
The WMP’s self-sustaining Wolbachia method:
The World Mosquito Program method works by introducing Wolbachia into Aedes aegypti mosquitoes that transmit the dengue, chikungunya, Zika and yellow fever viruses. These Wolbachia carrying mosquitoes are released in areas where mosquito-borne viruses are endemic. Once Wolbachia carrying mosquitoes are released, they breed with wild mosquitoes. Over time, the percentage of mosquitoes carrying Wolbachia grows until it remains high without the need for further releases. WMP’s self-sustaining method offers a safe, effective, and long-term solution to reducing the burden of these diseases.
Dale Amtsberg, Senior Media Advisor
World Mosquito Program
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