There are no effective vaccines against malaria or most arboviruses. There are no chemotherapeutants for the treatment of arbovirus infection. Mosquito surveillance, management and manipulation remain the mainstays of most mosquito-borne disease control programs. The Mosquito Control Laboratory (MCL) manages state-of-the art pathogen and insect containment facilities with the capacity to undertake studies on all aspects of vector biology and disease transmission. We work on innovations in mosquito surveillance and control that might help interrupt parasite and pathogen transmission.
We are unique in the Southern Hemisphere with regard to our size, capacity and expertise. This makes us a key partner in a national, regional and international network. Our presence significantly enhances Australia’s ability to investigate emerging vector-borne disease threats in the region. A major remit of the refurbished (2013), MCL is to exploit this unique facility through building strong collaborative links with parasitology, virology and vector biology laboratories throughout the world.
The MCL has permission to hold a number of exotic mosquito species in addition to native Australian mosquitoes. These include insecticide-resistant and susceptible Aedes aegypti strains, Aedes albopictus and Anopheles stephensi. The MCL has local access to real-world mosquito-virus transmission systems through a number of native mosquito vectors and their associated alphaviruses (including Ross River and Barmah Forest). We have field work in progress in Asia, Europe and the Americas.
Sánchez HM, Bennett JB, Wu SL, Rašić G, Akbari OS, Marshall JM (2020) Confinement and reversibility of threshold-dependent gene drive systems in spatially-explicit Aedes aegypti populations. BMC Biology 18: 50 https://doi.org/10.1186/s12915-020-0759-
Gayawali N, Murphy AK, Hugo L, Devine G (2020) A micro-PRNT for the detection of Ross River virus antibodies in mosquito blood meals: A useful tool for inferring transmission pathways. PLoS ONE 15(7): e0229314. https://doi.org/ 10.1371/journal.pone.0229314
Johnson, B.J., Manby, R. & Devine, G.J. What Happens on Islands, doesn’t Stay on Islands: Patterns of Synchronicity in Mosquito Nuisance and Host-Seeking Activity between a Mangrove Island and Adjacent Coastal Development. Urban Ecosyst (2020). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0229314 Refer to Image 3 below.
Slonchak, A., Hugo, L.E., Freney, M.E. et al. Zika virus noncoding RNA suppresses apoptosis and is required for virus transmission by mosquitoes. Nat Commun 11, 2205 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-16086-y Refer to Image 4 below.
We have a broad funding base that includes local and federal government, the Australian NHMRC, the US Department of Defence, USAID, the Wellcome Trust and the UK Medical Research Council. We have won approximately $5.5M AUD in funding since 2013.