Microsoft funds initiative to fight mosquito-borne diseases

Microsoft funds initiative to fight mosquito-borne diseases
The World Mosquito Program aims to reduce the number of insects able to spread viruses

Elly Yates-Roberts |

Microsoft has awarded an AI for Earth grant to the World Mosquito Program, an initiative which aims to fight potentially deadly mosquito-borne diseases such as dengue, Zika and yellow fever. 

The Program will fund the breeding of mosquitoes with cells infused with a bacteria called Wolbachia, which limits the replication of viruses within a mosquito’s body. They are then released to mate with local mosquitoes, which spreads Wolbachia across entire mosquito populations and neutralises their ability to carry diseases. 

According to Nature, the efforts have already resulted in huge reductions in the number of those becoming infected. The use of technologies such as  machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI) and the cloud will help to target the areas where further intervention is needed most. 

“[The World Mosquito Program] will no longer be governed by the speed and scale of how it does its data analytics,” said Lucas Joppa, chief environmental officer at Microsoft. “AI does its best when it just kind of disappears into the background and lets people get on with the task at hand. [The Program] can pull together all of the data, all the expertise available, and expand its operations across the world instead of going from project to project, location to location.”

Find out more about how Microsoft is supporting the World Mosquito Program

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