Given that more than 65% of infectious diseases which affect humans result from other animals, quite possibly the most logical approach to stop them should be to locate the source. However, studying wildlife for clues regarding the origin in the next epidemic is comparable to buying needle in the haystack. Subsequently, scientists and nutritionists are forced to combat illnesses similar to the recent Zika Virus, when they spread.
Now, tech giant Microsoft has developed a groundbreaking idea. Let’s suppose you can easliy use mosquitoes, who are the cause of the spread of the viruses, as “early warning systems?” This may give researchers the opportunity to nip the issue from the bud saving viral outbreaks.
Project Premonition will start by deploying autonomous drones to rural areas to identify mosquito hotspots. According to Microsoft, the present technique for locating mosquito-infested zones using satellite imagery does not yield precise results. Within a experiment conducted for the island nation of Grenada, the conventional satellite technique identified almost the entire island as being infested while using the insects. [image above]. However, the drone, which may get more detailed the outer, was clearly competent to pinpoint pools of waters and unsealed containers and structures [image below], where mosquitoes thrive.
Once the areas were accurately mapped, traps might be set to assemble insect specimens. However, due to the fact one can find over 3,600 kinds of mosquitoes, each carrying various kinds of viruses with regards to the animals they target, capturing them randomly could be of little use.
To identify the specific species how the scientists are searhing for, Project Premonition has generated a mosquito trap with 64 smart cells that monitor the insects while they fly inside. In the event the mosquito’s wing movements match what species they’re serious about studying, the cell door closes. When an insect is captured, the smart net also collects relevant environmental data just like time, temperature, and levels. The weatherproof trap, which could last over 20 hours in hot and humid climates, is made to learn from its mistakes, to get increasingly efficient at catching the desired species.
The trapped insects will likely then be brought to the Project Premonition lab for the detailed DNA analysis within the blood they may have extracted from victims. Reported by Microsoft scientists, the few microliters contain vital specifics of the kind of animal the species targets along with the presence of any viruses, both known and new, could possibly be capable to transmitting. Microsoft will utilize its massive computing power and specially developed algorithms to read through the details rapidly and strive to detect pathogens early. This, the firm believes, lets scientists and healthcare workers to halt viruses before they spread.
Though the technology continues to be ongoing, the outcome of Project Premonition’s inaugural tests, in collaboration while using Harris County Public Health Division in summer 2016, are encouraging. The 87 experiments conducted making use of the robotic traps captured over 20GB data about mosquito behavior, including more knowledge about ones carrying the Zika virus. Who will have considered that pesky mosquitoes would become our allies inside fight against diseases?
Resources: microsoft.com. geekwire.com