Drones To Combat Zika: Drones To Be Used to Eradicate Virus

Oct 14, 2016 04:14 AM EDT | Ribhu .


Advanced technological tactics like aerial drones would be soon used to tackle Zika and future disease flare-ups.

Newly developing drones may help by conveying medical supplies to remote regions plus carrying back lab samples for testing. Another way to fight can be packing and dropping of sterile mosquitoes over mosquito hot zones or to the hard to reach zones that are not easily accessible, to stop mosquito breeding.

Therefore, joining a batch of inventive ideas and solutions for fighting Zika and other mosquito-borne diseases short-listed by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), which is to get $3.3 million funding for development and testing. Out of 900 submissions, 26 selected for research and funding includes, data mining to predict future outbreaks and cellular phones for disease surveillance.

Florida, looking for potential possibilities still hasn't got any of these ideas implemented. The Florida Department of health reports 1,014 cases of Zika this year, mostly carried by travelers but 172 people infected in Florida which includes 104 pregnant women.

"These are certainly innovations of global importance," said Wendy Taylor, who directs USAID's Centre for Accelerating Innovation and Impact.

Through and through USAID has granted $30 million to privately owned businesses, colleges and specialists to create advancements that will address the current flow of Zika flare-up - and prepare for the next worldwide ailment episode, Taylor said.

These ideas were submitted as part of USAID's "Grand Challenge to Combat Zika and future Threats," an open call for thoughts to counteract, recognize and responds to future disease outbreaks.

A Michigan-based aerospace company os experimenting with drones, a Belgian company in Brazil is data mining to monitor disease, Johns Hopkins university proposed environment-friendly pesticide and low-cost sandals with mosquito repellent to protect exposed ankles.

"None of these are silver shots," Taylor said.

Still, it can take years for a few ideas to completely develop. Of the advancements USAID subsidized for Ebola reaction, Taylor said, about half are being used today.

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