Via Agencia Brasil, a report from Agencia Lusa: Agência da ONU para energia atômica oferece tecnologia nuclear contra vírus Zika. [UN atomic energy agency offers nuclear technology against Zika virus] Edited excerpt from the Google translation:
Using nuclear radiation to eliminate or reduce the population of the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which transmits the Zika virus, will be a central theme that the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency of the United Nations (IAEA), Yukiya Amano, will present traveling to various countries throughout the Americas starting on Monday (25).
The Zika virus is related to the increase in cases of microcephaly in infants in Latin America.
"The technology for insect sterilization is very effective in reducing or eliminating the population of mosquitoes and other disease carriers," Amano said in an interview the day before leaving for Panama, first leg of the two-week visit to the Central American region and Mexico.
The Japanese diplomat recalled that the UN agency for atomic energy, which oversees the peaceful use of nuclear technology, has much experience in this technique for pest control. Amano also said that the organization is able to respond quickly to crises of this kind and gave as an example the Ebola outbreak in Africa in 2014.
At the time, the agency sent in a few weeks a mission to the affected African countries. With the use of nuclear technology, the time needed to diagnose Ebola in these countries has been reduced from four days to four hours.
Nuclear-sterilized insects have succeeded against the tsetse fly in Africa, which carries "sleeping sickness" in humans and also affects cattle.
The UN agency's director reminded, however, that the organization is still working on its use on mosquitoes of other diseases, such as Zika, and warned that the problem "is not solved overnight."