Australian Embassy
Vietnam

Media Release - 11/6/2013

Leading Australian scientist on eliminating dengue in Viet Nam

 

Professor Scott O’Neill, Program Leader of the “Global Eliminate Dengue Research Program” and Dean of Science at Monash University, Australia chaired a roundtable and gave a lecture on eliminating dengue at the Hanoi Medical University in Hanoi today. His program in Vietnam also included a visit to Children’s Hospital No. 2, a meeting with Pasteur Institute and a seminar on the same topic in Ho Chi Minh City yesterday.

Dengue fever is ranked by the World Health Organization (WHO) as the most important mosquito-borne viral disease in the world - and the most rapidly spreading - with a 30-fold increase in global incidence over the past 50 years. The “Global Eliminate Dengue Research Program” team led by Professor O’Neill has discovered that the presence of Wolbachia within the dengue carrying mosquito - Aedes aegypti – acts like a ‘vaccine’ for the mosquito and reduces its ability to pass the dengue virus to people.

The team has worked with the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology (NIHE) and other local health organisations on a field trial at Tri Nguyen Island where they released a number of Wolbachia affected mosquitos on 3 April this year. Detailed information about the project can be found at: http://www.eliminatedengue.com

“Besides the excellent cooperation that already exists between Australia and Vietnam in many areas including education, trade and investment, border control…I am happy to see such an effective and meaningful collaboration between the two countries’ scientists in supporting this global project and working on eliminating dengue in Vietnam,” Australian Ambassador Hugh Borrowman said.

According to Professor O’Neill, Wolbachia based strategies represent a practical, environmentally sensitive approach to dengue suppression with the potential for area-wide implementation at low cost. The method is also compatible with existing control approaches like insecticide application and should augment the effectiveness of a future vaccine once developed. This method is well suited to Vietnam’s ecology.

Professor O’Neill’s visit to Vietnam is sponsored by the Australian Government as a part of its celebrations to mark the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Australia and Vietnam this year.

For further information, please contact Ms Viet Anh, Public Affairs Manager of the Australian Embassy at +84 903 423 440 or email: thi-viet-anh.dinh@dfat.gov.au