MSU lands $1 Million USAID grant to fight Zika

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Zhiyong Xi and colleagues (view larger image)

Michigan State University (MSU) has landed a highly competitive grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to fight the Zika virus in Mexico.

The $1 million grant was awarded to Zhiyong Xi, MSU associate professor of microbiology and molecular genetics, to build a mosquito factory in Yucatan, Mexico. The laboratory will be modeled after a facility in Guangzhou, China, a center that Xi leads in partnership with Sun Yat-sen University.

“Traditional efforts to control disease-ridden mosquitoes have relied heavily on chemical insecticides and have failed to have an impact on diseases such as Dengue fever,” said Xi, who’s also the director of Sun Yat-sen University-Michigan State University Joint Center of Vector Control for Tropical Diseases. “They will unlikely be efficient for Zika control because the same mosquito species transmit both diseases. There is a critical need to develop novel intervention strategies to control Zika transmission.”

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