The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said the so-called Sterile Insect Technology (SIT) can help tackle the outbreak which has been declared a global health emergency by the World Health Organization (WHO). IAEA experts are set to meet with Brazilian officials on February, 16, Reuters reported
Mexico, Guatemala and El Salvador are among other states that have also requested the technology from the UN atomic agency.
The method involves exposing laboratory-bred male mosquitoes to nuclear radiation, and making their sperm sterile before their release into the wild to mate with the females. Mosquito eggs from such copulation never hatch, helping reduce populations of the insect.“If Brazil released a huge number of sterile males, it would take a few months to reduce the population,” IAEA Deputy Director General Aldo Malavasi told reporters on Tuesday, adding that other methods of fighting the dangerous insects should not be off the table.
“It’s family planning for insects,” Jorge Hendrichs, head of the Insect Pest Control Section at the IAEA, said.
SIT has already been tested in several countries. According to Konstantinos Bourtzis of the IAEA’s insect pest control laboratory, in Italy it helped to reduce mosquito populations by around 80 percent in several months; in China mosquitoes have been defeated 100 percent.