Fed Puts On Fund For Zika Virus Drones
The U.S. Agency for International Development gave two groups - WeRobotics and Vayu - funding for developing drones that researchers could use to combat the spread of the Zika virus, according to a report.
The Delaware-based WeRobotics is planning to flood mosquito population with sterile insects that can greatly reduce population as love-sick bugs waste time and energy mating. Vayu is focusing on developing on drones to deliver medical supplies or transport laboratory samples back and forth from hard to reach areas. The USAID will be supporting a number of Zika-fighting solutions including two new drone related ones.
Zika causes microcephaly, as well as additional health conditions in infants such as congenital Zika syndrome. It has also been compared or link to Guillain-Barre syndrome in adults which is a condition in which the body's immune system attacks the nerves and incites paralysis.
The idea is to pack the drones with sterile mosquitoes and drop them into mosquito hot-zones.
USAID is using $30 million borrowed from Ebola-fighting efforts to pay for its "Grand Challenge". The Obama administration pulled the Ebola cash when congress failed to provide a requested $1.9 billion in new funding earlier this year.
Taylor said that the agency got overwhelming response when it had sent out a call to new ideas.He said in two months time they ended up getting 900 ideas.
Zika has spread across much of Latin America and the Caribbean, and it's caused outbreaks in south Florida.
The Florida department of health reports more than 1,000 cases of Zika. Most have been carried in by travelers but 172 people have been infected in Florida, presumably by Aedes mosquitoes that live there. Travelers infected with Zika can infect other people sexually and if they are bitten by Aedes mosquitoes when they get back home, those mosquitoes can infect more people.
As of October 5 2016 people in Us territories have contracted the Zika virus.