Zika virus (ZIKV) is causing an explosive outbreak of febrile disease in the Americas. There are no effective antiviral therapies or licensed vaccines for this virus, and mosquito control strategies have not been adequate to contain the virus. A promising candidate for arbovirus control and prevention relies on the introduction of the intracellular bacterium Wolbachia into Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. This primarily has been proposed as a tool to control dengue virus (DENV) transmission; however, evidence suggests Wolbachia infections confer protection for Ae. aegypti against other arboviruses. At present, it is unknown whether or not ZIKV can infect, disseminate, and be transmitted by Wolbachia-infected Ae. aegypti. Using Ae. aegypti infected with the wMel strain of Wolbachia that are being released in Medellin, Colombia, we report that these mosquitoes have reduced vector competence for ZIKV. These results support the use of Wolbachia biocontrol as a multivalent strategy against Ae. aegypti-transmitted viruses.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was partially funded by National Institutes of Health Grant #R21AI117413-01.