Eureka Prize for dengue researchers

QTHA researcher Prof Scott Ritchie, medical entomologist at James Cook University, is part of a team that has won an Australian Museum Eureka Prize for his work into dengue fever.

 

The Australian Museum Eureka Prizes were announced at a gala dinner in Canberra 4th September in front of 700 science, government, cultural and media leaders.

 

Established in 1990 and presented annually by the Australian Museum, the Eureka Prizes reward excellence in the fields of research and innovation, leadership and commercialisation, school science and science journalism and communication.

 

The Eliminate Dengue project, led by Scott O'Neill from Monash University, won the Research in Infectious Diseases Award.

 

Professor Scott Ritchie, based at JCU in Cairns, was the principal investigator in the winning team.

Professor Ritchie said the research aimed to stop the spread of the disease, using biotechnology techniques taken from fruit flies. He said dengue was becoming a bigger problem in much of the tropics.

 

"I have been a principal investigator in the Eliminate Dengue program funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation since its inception in 2005," he said.

 

"This innovative project utilises the bacterium Wolbachia to prevent the dengue vector Aedes aegypti from transmitting dengue viruses.

 

"This partnership has already demonstrated that the parasite can effectively work in the laboratory and in semi-field cages."

 

Professor Ritchie said the team was currently evaluating open field releases of Wolbachia-infected Ae, aegypti mosquitoes in Cairns.

 

 

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