World Mosquito Program partners with Hatch to tackle diseases

23 February 2023 Consultancy.com.au 3 min. read
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The Australian branch of global engineering and advisory company Hatch is working with the World Mosquito Program (WMP) to help reduce the transmission of mosquito-borne diseases in Brazil and Colombia.

Following a review process, the South Australian team of Hatch won the design work for the World Mosquito Program’s pilot of mass mosquito production facilities and mobile labs. These are designed for the mass rearing of Wolbachia mosquitoes, to reduce mosquito-borne diseases in Brazil and Colombia.

A symbiotic bacteria found naturally in half of all insect species, Wolbachia blocks the transmission of viruses when introduced into Aedes aegypti mosquitoes.

World Mosquito Program partners with Hatch to tackle diseases

Short-term releases of Wolbachia mosquitoes in dengue-affected communities allow Wolbachia to spread into the local mosquito population, effectively ‘immunising’ it against dengue and other viruses.

This self-sustaining, safe and cost-effective method has been deployed in 11 countries over the past decade, reaching more than 10 million people, and its effectiveness for dengue control has been demonstrated in multiple field trials.

Kieran Walters, Director Global Functions & Strategy at the World Mosquito Program, said: “The movement of people from rural areas to cities, climate change and international travel have all contributed to the increased global spread of dengue and other viruses transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito – including dengue, Zika, yellow fever and chikungunya.

“Dengue is the world’s most rapidly spreading mosquito-borne disease, currently affecting more than half the world’s population and that number is projected to increase substantially over the next 50 years.”

Wolbachia results

Led by its South Australian team, Hatch’s presence of more than 9.000 staff across 150 countries and its success in delivering large-scale projects globally was recognised by the World Mosquito Program as key to helping develop localised solutions through the global non-profit’s production sites.

Hatch – a multidisciplinary firm specialised in the mining, metals, energy and infrastructure sectors – has operations in several key regions for the program, including Brazil, Colombia, and Indonesia.

Duncan Mallord, Location Manager of Hatch in Adelaide, said: “Our extensive knowledge in development strategy, facility design, infrastructure master planning, engineering, technology and project management will allow the World Mosquito Program to effectively develop production plants across the globe.”

“In addition, we have a demonstrated understanding of bi-language scopes of work which will ensure the World Mosquito Program understands and signs off, quality assured deliverables to the different standards and procurement strategies for different countries. Through this project, Hatch is proving it has the expertise and skills to contribute positive change and build safe, innovative and sustainable solutions to tackling public health challenges.”

Design and site selection is already taking off across countries such as Brazil and Colombia.

Mallord: “When completed, the Brazilian facility will have capacity for two mosquito lines with clear separation between manufacturing spaces for mosquito strains from different regions or cities. They will be equipped with heating, ventilation, and air conditioning, energy, lighting, telecommunications, water, potable and waste water treatment, and containment and quarantine infrastructure.”

Walters said he is excited for further global expansion of the project. “Working in conjunction with Hatch’s teams of engineers and consultants will allow the World Mosquito Program to work closely with communities affected by mosquito-borne diseases and deliver scalable solutions allowing businesses and communities to thrive, both now, and into the future.”

Not-for-profit group the World Mosquito Program is owned by Monash University.