Argentine scientists are aiming to combat dengue fever with nuclear power


In response to the rising number of dengue fever cases in the South American nation, Argentine biologists have turned to nuclear power to sterilize mosquitoes.

According to CNEA biologist Marianela Garcia Alba, the purpose of the experimental study, which began in 2016 at the National Atomic Energy Commission (CNEA), is to sterilize males by irradiating them with atomic energy before releasing them into the wild.

Garcia Alba added, “Their offspring is not viable when they meet with a wild female.” Biologists at the CNEA sterilize 10,000 males each week, and they anticipate increasing that number to 500,000. In November, scientists anticipate releasing the first litter of sterilized male mosquitoes.

Nuclear Power to Battle Dengue

The development of dengue-carrying mosquitoes in the laboratory is done with nuclear power. Atomic energy is used to irradiate the males, changing their DNA and sterilizing them. According to government epidemiological officials, 41,257 cases of dengue fever have been identified in Argentina as of April 2023.

The bites of aedes aegypti mosquitoes transmit dengue, which causes fever, headache, muscle and joint pain, nausea, and fatigue. Scientists are using radiation that alters the DNA of mosquitoes to stop the spread of the disease as Argentina battles one of its worst dengue outbreaks in recent memory.

According to Reuters, the number of dengue cases in Argentina has already exceeded 41,000, which is significantly more than some of the country’s worst outbreaks in 2016 and 2020.  Marianela Garcia Alba, a researcher from the Public Nuclear Energy Commission (CNEA) said, “This mosquito, because of the climb in temperature in our nation and the world… can spread more. Their populace continues to migrate further south.

Researchers at CNEA have been exploring different avenues regarding the nuclear disinfection of mosquitoes beginning around 2016 and are sanitizing more than 10,000 guys each week. Their point is to build that number to north of 500,000. In November 2023, the first batch of sterilized mosquitoes will be released.

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