A new radiation-based technique to combat mosquito-borne diseases such as dengue fever and Zika with the mass release of sterile male mosquitoes will soon be tested by multi-national teams of researchers, the World Health Organization (WHO) said in a press release on Thursday.
"The Sterile Insect Technique (SIT) is a form of insect birth control", the release said. "The process involves rearing large quantities of sterilized male mosquitoes in dedicated facilities and then releasing them to mate with females in the wild. As they do not produce any offspring, the insect population declines over time".
While SIT has been successfully used to control some insects, the method has proved problematic for mosquitoes because it weakens male bugs, making them less able to attract female mates.