Inside the massive mosquito factory where scientists are working to stop the Zika virus

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Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

The Zika virus – a virus transmitted by mosquitoes – has taken over many countries. It started in Brazil, and has rapidly moved to other countries such as Puerto Rico, Cuba, Venezuela, the United States, and more.

Zika has been linked with birth defects, such as microcephaly – a neurological disorder that causes babies to be born with small craniums and limited brain development. The untreatable virus has caused many deaths and has even convinced some top athletes headed to the Olympics in Rio this August to withdrawal from the competition.

The virus may be untreatable, but researchers are attempting to find another way to stop the devastating virus. A mosquito lab in China – the largest mosquito factory in the world – is working to end the Zika virus. Getty photographer Kevin Frayer recently visited the factory.


This factory in China is full of mosquitos.

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Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

The lab at Sun Yat-Sen University-Michigan University Joint Center of Vector Control in Gaungzhou, China is over 37,700 square feet and has four workshops to raise the insects.

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Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

Their goal is to stop the next generation of the Zika virus.

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Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

The lab raises millions of male mosquitoes for research that could potentially end the next strain of Zika.

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Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

At the lab, mosquitoes are poisoned with a strain of Wolbachia pipientis, a common bacterium shown to forbid Zika and similar viruses, such as dengue fever.

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Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

After the male mosquitoes are infected with the bacterium, researchers release the infected mosquitoes on nearby islands to mate with wild females who then obtain the bacterium, which will prevent the proper fertilization of her eggs.

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Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

Each of the four workshops produce 5 million mosquitoes a week.

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Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

In total, 20 million mosquitoes are raised in just one week.

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Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

The lab first started their Zika research last summer, and in April of this year they were established as the international front-runner in fighting mosquito-born viruses.

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Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

Source: Daily Mail


The team of researchers just recently released the first set of infected mosquitoes on Shazai island and is planning to release the next set on the Dadaosha Island in Panyu district.

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Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

Source: Daily Mail


The mosquitoes that they raise do not bite, so local residents do not have to fear the newcomers.

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Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

The life threatening virus — that has spread to 49 countries — is on its way to being controlled.

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Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

After a year of research, the lab claims there is a 99% abolishment of the population of Aedes albopictus — also known as Asia tiger mosquito — that are known to carry the Zika virus.

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Kevin Frayer/Getty Images