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

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

Zika Virus Spreads Asia

BATAM, INDONESIA - SEPTEMBER 04: A banner about Zika virus is seen as ferry passengers arriving from Singapore queued to immigration check at the International Ferry Terminal Batam Centre as a border with Singapore on September 4, 2016 in Batam, Indonesia. Singapore raised the number of Zika cases to 242 this week as government agencies stepped up efforts to control the mosquito-borne virus while neighboring countries like Malaysia and Indonesia introduced thermal scanners at border checkpoints and airports. According to reports, seven nationalities have been affected in the city state nation, including six from Malaysia, one from Indonesia, and 23 from mainland China, while countries including Hong Kong and Australia has issued travel advisories for visitors to Singapore.
(Photo : Photo by Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images)

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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